1 BE A PARENT- NOT A COACH
Your job is primarily to be a parent. You are there to provide support and comfort before, during and after the game. Leave the coaching to the coaches and enjoy being a part of your child’s sporting career. Be supportive and not intrusive.
2 BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL
Children are quick to notice adult behaviours around them. Make sure as a parent you are respectful to your child, the coach, the referee and other children playing the game. If you display positive behaviour in the car, on the touchline and towards other individuals involved in the game then your children will see this and act accordingly.
3 KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Your child is not a professional athlete. The whole process should be about learning and fun. Set realistic goals with your child, do not allow the sport to take over your life and make sure your child has a healthy balance with other activities and family.
4 DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO SPECIALISE TOO EARLY
Ensure that your child has plenty of variety in their sport and do not commit all of their time to just one sport. If you do this from an early age you run the risk of your child falling out of love with the game, suffering burnout and picking up overuse injuries through their teenage years and beyond. Variety remains the spice of life!
5 FOCUS ON THE PROCESS- NOT THE OUTCOME
Make sure that you praise your child’s effort, commitment and improvement; not whether or not they win a game. This is a long term process rather than a short term gain.
6 LET YOUR CHILD TAKE RISKS WITHOUT FEAR
Sport is one of the few avenues for this generation to take risks and not worry about the consequences. If they wish to be successful they will have to suffer plenty of failure along the way. Do not be tempted to intervene or stifle this process.
7 AVOID COMPARISONS WITH OTHER CHILDREN
Comparisons with other children happens all the time. In fact these comparisons are useless, inaccurate and can have a detrimental effect on you and your child. Children mature at different times particularly during puberty but also before. That it is why it is important to focus on technique and skill acquisition as opposed to physical outcomes.
8 DO NOT FUEL YOUR CHILD’S EGO
Use of the word talented or telling your child how good they are can have long term implications. The child will think that they are born with a natural gift and as a result do not have to work hard to foster their talents.
9 BE WARY OF THE CAR JOURNEY HOME
This is your child’s game. Do not use the car journey home to go over everything they have done in their session or match. Only speak if they invite you into the conversation. If you feel that you must talk to them then ask them questions that allow them to reflect on the game.
10 ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE
Sport should be a wonderful thing for parents and children to enjoy together. With the right environment and with the right attitude all parties should be able to have a fantastic experience.