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4 Things Sports Parents Do that Make Kids Hate Sports


If SportsSignup had it our way, every kid in America would play on some youth sports team and love every second of it. Obviously we are a little biased (not everyone loves sports as much as us!), but the last thing we want is for a child to actively dislike or even hate sports. Especially if it’s due to something that could have been avoided! Parents have a big impact on how their kids feel about sports and here are four things sports parents can do (usually by accident) that can sour your child’s opinion of youth sports.

1. Forces them to play a particular sport.

A lot of parents register their kids for a local sports organization because they themselves loved belonging to a youth sports team as a kid. Hopefully your child will love sports as much as you did, but it’s important to remember that your child is their own person, not a chance to relive your glory years. You might have been an ace baseball catcher in your day, but maybe your son would rather play soccer or golf. Maybe your daughter prefers swimming over tennis. It’s hard to love sports when you have to play one you hate because mom and dad said so. Should you sign your child up for sports and encourage them to give it a go? We say yes! But don’t force them into a sport they don’t like. If your child clearly loves one sport over another than just let them play!4 Things Sports Parents Do that Makes Your Kids Hate Sports

2. Embarrasses them from the sidelines.

No youth athlete wants their mom or dad to be “that” sports parent. You know the one—the one who coaches from the sidelines, yells at the officials or opposing team, gets into arguments with other sports parents and so forth. Most youth athletes put enough pressure on themselves already, you don’t need to be adding fuel to the fire by telling your son he’s playing like a girl or moaning and groaning about how your daughter missed a shot on goal. Sometimes even well intentioned comments can embarrass your athlete if they get taken the wrong way, so be sure what you say is what they hear.   

3. Doesn’t support them.

So maybe you weren’t the biggest sports fan as a kid. Maybe you were more into music or drama, or you spent the weekends working on cars or volunteering at your church or what have you. But you have a child that really likes to play sports—so please support them and their hobbies, even if you aren’t the biggest sports person. Some kids may not mind, but most kids want the approval of their parents and want to make you proud of them. Seeing a smiling face in the stands can make all the difference for a youth athlete. Even if you can’t make it to every game, make it a point to attend a few throughout the season and show your support for what they love to do.

4. Compares them to their teammates.

Like we just said, most kids want their parents to be proud of them. You may not even realize that you’re doing it but make sure you aren’t comparing your child to their teammates too often because it can start to eat away at their self-confidence. Comments like “You need to run the bases more like Mike,” or “Jane practices all the time, that’s why she’s better” might not be meant as harmful, but sometimes it can come across like you aren’t proud of your own child and what they have achieved. Should you push your child to get better? Of course! But that’s why you need to have constructive criticism—praise them for what they did right, then focus on what could be improved and make a plan to get there.



Sometimes the passion (or frustration) of parents far exceeds the interest and capabilities of their children. As integral as sports can be in the development of children, we should always remember that it should only be a complement to an education.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9:04 AM by Alan Chokov
Play with your child at a young age for 60 minutes.Take them to games. Ask them if they want to join a organzed sport or just exercise 60 minutes a day. Support them for what ever choice they make 
but if they don't join an organized sport continue with 60 minutes of exercis a day. DAN BROWNE
Posted @ Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:24 PM by DAN BROWNE
Great article and points Jodi. So sad to see parents who violate any of these. Just let kids be kids and sprinkle in a little more responsibility each year. But if they don't want "it" they don't want it. That's life. Accept it and love them for who they are.
Posted @ Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:42 PM by Mike McCarthy
The article established sound categories that can create conflict. An added example in section 4 would be to compare young athletes to a sibling. No one likes to think they can not measure up to an older brother or sister. It may even destroy the relationships between children. Also in 2, the parent coaching from the sideline places the player in a position of being between a rock and a hard place. The game plan might be to attack the right flank in soccer because the opponents left back is the slowest. Then parents in the stands continue to yell "switch the field". The players are forced into a conflict which is stressful and a distraction during the game. The result is diminished play.
Posted @ Thursday, December 06, 2012 7:54 AM by Stan Cieplinski
Excellent article to which I would add that where children aged 10 yrs and under and in particular, my sport soccer I would add an ADULT mentality that in my opinion needs to be seriously addresses. 
Organized, competitive leagues where a minority of both, parents and coaches measure success ONLY by the \number of games the kids win. I call it 'A DISEASE CALLED WINNING'/ 
Place a ball down and leave it and a group of kids come by. The will organize themselves into two teams. They will argue, dispute decisions etc, but at the end they will all go home tired, muddy but happy and all of this achieved WITHOUT, a referee, 
parent or coach in sight. Of course kids are competitive and of course they love to win however, whereas this disappointment usually wears off in a couple of hours and all they do is to look forward to their next game, these parents and coaches 
immediately refer to the league tables in order to ascertain what damage has been caused due to the loss and then, continually emphasize 
that they MUST win their next game. 
KIDS invented street soccer whereas, ADULTS introduced competitive leagues accordingly, for children aged 10 years and under, give the game back to where it belongs to: 'CHILDREN'.  
Posted @ Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:01 PM by dennis hillyard
Dennis, I couldn't agree more. What great lessons they will learn in doing so as well. Organization skills. Dispute resolution skills. Physical skills not restricted by "team systems". Coping skills. You name it. Far more beneficial. But man oh man do adults take over and emphasize winning, don't they? It is sad.
Posted @ Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:09 PM by Mike McCarthy
the early way to start chidren is with co-ed pre-school classes. this way ,they can decide what sport or sports they like. make sure your children or child get involved with GO 60 where there is no pressure on a child ,but 60 minutes of exercise. AS they grow older, they will pick out a sport, but get their exercise with Go 60. 
Posted @ Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:40 PM by dan browne
As a youth coach for ages 10 and younger, it surprises me how many parents limit their kids to playing one sport because it was their favorite sport or they think he/she is going to be a professional one day. Kids need to enjoy sports. For some kids it is an outlet they need for confidence in school, making friends or other life skills. My kids have made new friends while playing sports and having fun. Coaching them has allowed me to teach them good sportsmanship as well as the fundamentals. Parents should encourage their kids and not try to coach them while playing. Many times the kids are told by their coach to do one thing and their patent is "coaching" them from the sidelines, confusing them. Let your kids be kids and have fun with sports. Do not take their youth away too soon. There is plenty of time for that later in life.
Posted @ Saturday, December 15, 2012 6:44 PM by Jon McHutchison
My parents forced me to play sports until I was 13. At that point I put my foot down, and quit sports and all other activities. To this day I will not get on a court or field where I might come into contact with some jock, who thinks he's god's gift to world of athletics.
Posted @ Friday, September 20, 2013 7:20 PM by Steve
My twins just started 5th grade and are encouraged by their peers and other parents to join volleyball and basketball. I see no value as does my husband but me the working mom is delegated to show up for the practices and games. I hate it and can't hide my disdain. Any advise for parents who see no value in sports and are pressured into being an American parent??
Posted @ Tuesday, September 16, 2014 9:48 PM by Georgina
Thank you all for the comments! @Georgina - That's awful that you are feeling pressured. I guess my big question for you is how do your kids feel about playing sports? Do they enjoy it? All of us who have children involved in a sport understand the time and toll it can take on us parents, and we all have our moments of disdain. However, my advice to you, if your children love playing, is to try and find something that YOU can enjoy with it. The happiness seeing them being part of a team? Maybe meet some new fellow sports parent to chat with? While they are at practice you could take that time to run errands/etc? We know it's tough (my daughter is in competitive cheerleading and I'm running 5 days a week), but there's nothing better than seeing those smiles at the end of every game/competition/match! Good luck to you.
Posted @ Friday, September 19, 2014 10:04 AM by Jodi Murphy
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