Do you have any coping strategies in place for being a sports parent?
Undoubtedly being a sport parent at times can be a tough gig but it is also one of the most satisfying times in a parents life. Many happy moments can be shared with your child during their sporting experience. Just to show how big watching and being involved in your child’s sport is, you only need to look at how many mobile phones are out on the side of pitches unless they are being used for photographs or video footage? This is a far cry from how it would look with a group of adults either in their week at work or in other activities they may involve themselves in.
In recent times the logistical, financial and emotional element that has come with being part of a child’s sporting experience has increased considerably leaving parents open to behaving in a way that may not be a fair reflection of themselves.
Things such as player favouritism, non-selection or seeing your child upset or frustrated over poor performance or injury have added an even greater burden to the stress of sporting parents.
As a result of this many parents sit at home reflecting in a negative way to how things are going with their child’s sport as they are not equipped with the right support and guidance to help them.
We have put together some strategies for parents to help relieve some of this stress.
Learn more – Be better informed of the environment that you have entered your child into and some of the nuances that come with it. We have provided a portal here at WWPIS packed full of information for you to read, learn, as well as see some real life stories and strategies that have proved both successful and unsuccessful.
Talk to your child -What are their expectations? Make sure that you are both singing from the same hymn sheet before you start so that you are not pulling in different directions.It is also worth ensuring that you empathise at all times with how your child is feeling. You can only do this if you believe that it is THEIR game to play!
Limit negativity – Try to be positive at all times. View failure in training and losses in matches as valuable learning opportunities. Try to focus on the processes and not the outcomes ensuring that any failure is seen as an opportunity for your child to develop important character traits such as resilience and stickability.
Self reflection – We have all made mistakes as sporting parents in one form or another. Whether that be caught up in the excitement of the sideline, being grumpy in the car on the way home or being critical of another player/parent involved in our own child’s sport. When these situations happen, take a moment and think if you handled them in the best way. If not, think about how you may handle the situation if it happened again?
I GUARANTEE YOU THAT THIS ONE IS PARTICULARLY VALUABLE, I REACT VERY DIFFERENTLY TO THINGS NOW AS A SPORTING PARENT HAVING BEEN THROUGH A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT SCENARIOS THE FIRST TIME AROUND.
Give yourself space – if you feel that you are about to lose the plot or other people around you are doing just that then move away from the area and give yourself some time alone to calm down and put things back into perspective.
Seek professional support – Don’t second guess and stew on things that are frustrating you for too long. When you are becoming stressed by a situation talk to the professionals. Don’t get sucked into listening to other parents talking on the sideline. Talk to the coach, organisation, a sports teacher you may know or neutral friends who are in a position to give you a qualified, objective opinion or even email us here at WWPIS and we can see what we can do to help.