1. Embarrass him. By your insane behavior at the game. By hounding the coach. By screaming at the ref. The possibilities are endless.
2. Push too hard. There’s encouraging and pushing, and there’s PUSHING. If you really want to turn your kids off, you’ve got to push and push and push until they are sick and tired and want nothing more to do with the pressure you are putting on them.
3. Try to clone yourself. Your kid does not want to be your clone, so if your goal is to get him to follow in your footsteps and be as good as you were, then you will most likely turn him off to the sport.
4. Hover. Please note the difference between hovering and being there. Hovering is what parents do when they stand guard like secret service men, ready to pounce on anyone who looks at their child wrong. Hovering is okay for very small children, but needs to slack off as kids get older.
5. Eat, breathe and drink the sport. Insist that your child practice even when he comes home from practice, insist he discuss practice and games after every event, and insist that he go to all available camps and clinics.
6. Drill into your child that sports should not be fun. Don’t let your child think for a minute that he should be having fun while he plays sports. It’s all about discipline, hard work, and being successful. After all, when he gets older, that’s part of the game, right? Why not teach him that early, like say, age 4?
7. Choose your child’s dreams. Decide right now that you want your child to go Division 1 and then Pro. Don’t ask him what he wants, after all, he’s just a kid and doesn’t really know what’s best for him, right?
8. Harp on mistakes. You can really drive your child crazy by never letting go of his mistakes, and by focusing on them instead of the positives he achieved.
9. Concentrate on his stats. Forget his good sportsmanship and his little improvements in the game, it should be all about his statistics. After all, stats don’t lie.
10. Coach your child during the game. Vigorously. Do whatever it takes to make sure your child is hearing your instructions: pace the sidelines and yell, stand up in the bleachers and shout, hover around the dugout and instruct when needed. After all, you can’t expect one person–the coach–to carry the entire burden himself, can you?
But you’ll also have a lot less fun, and miss out on some great opportunities to see your grow some pretty awesome character.