How to Defeat Sports Parenting Anxiety

How to Defeat Sports Parenting Anxiety

Do you ever suffer from sports parenting anxiety?

Just about every sports parent feels it, the anxiousness in the pit of your stomach when you’re worried about your child.

I’ve felt it many times in 22 years of sports parenting. There were times when my son was a senior quarterback that I was so anxious, I couldn’t eat. My stomach was in knots and I won’t go into details, but it upset my digestive system!

Sports parenting anxiety is very real for some of you. Others of you may have the gift of taking everything in stride, and if that’s you, I know you will have a great season! Your lack of anxiousness will allow you to enjoy it a lot more than if you were constantly worrying.

But for the rest of you who experience sports parenting anxiety, I’d like to tell you how to defeat it.

Worrying and anxiety do not have to win. They shouldn’t win because they will rob you of the joy that comes from watching your child play. Fight the anxiety with these suggestions:

Tell yourself over and over that it’s all about the kids, the fun, not about you.

If you have to write yourself a note, or set a reminder on your phone at the game, do it. Keep telling yourself this until you truly believe it.

Focus on the positive.

This isn’t easy because you can’t always control the thoughts that come into your mind, but you can control the people you allow to speak into your mind and if you let them influence your thinking. This is when you might need to choose your friendship groups wisely. Don’t surround yourself with people who take the game way too seriously or are negative. We used to call these “sympathy groups.”

Refocus your energy.

Instead of wasting your energy and thoughts on worry, pour those energy and thoughts into productive questions:

What is this experience teaching my child?”

“What is my child learning through this?”

“How is my worrying really helping my child?” 

“What’s the best way for me to help my child through in this experience?”

Sports parent anxiety will rob you of your joy. It will stir up jealousy and conflict. And it will eat up your insides.

I was one of those moms who would lay awake at night worrying about my kids–would she make the team? would he get the starting spot? would she get much playing time?

That worry often led me to make other sports parenting mistakes. Worry is powerful; it makes you do things you don’t really want to do. And it’s absolutely a waste of time and energy.


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