December 27, 2002, Newsletter Issue #90: POSITIVE PARENT INVOLVEMENT

Tip of the Week

As a parent, be involved in a positive way. Attend your childīs games as often as you can. Cheer for all the kids on the team. Help with fund raising. Assist with logistics. If youīre not sure how to help, ask the coach. There are probably a hundred ways to be a good team member and a good parent at the same time. When the larger definition of team is working well, the experience can be wonderful for everyone involved. People who see your program in action will want to be a part of it. Parents looking ahead to when their child will be old enough to participate will want to fit in and help. This kind of teamwork perpetuates itself. Once it gets momentum, it can be quite a force. It just takes parents who care.

Support the Coach
Please donīt talk bad about the coach in front of your child. The worst thing a parent can do is take pot shots at the coach, criticizing decisions, and complaining about his leadership. Support the coach and stand behind his decisions.

Playing Time
Donīt blame the coach for your childīs problems or lack of playing time. Your childīs struggles to succeed are your childīs problems. Let him work them out without your interference. A player has every right to ask a coach what needs to be done to earn more playing time, for example. But a parent stepping in to demand playing time is another thing altogether.

Harrassing the Referees
Please donīt harass the refs. Parents that loudly harass the referee are embarrassing to the player and the team. When a parent makes a spectacle of himself at a game, the player is embarrassed. If the ref is being reamed by a parent for a bad call (by definition, a bad call is any decision made against the parentīs child), what does the player learn? He learns that the mistake wasnīt his fault. It was the result of poor officiating. This is a bad habit to get into. Donīt encourage your child to place the blame for their failures upon others. One of the benefits of playing sports is learning to accept responsibility instead of making excuses. Sometimes a call is hard to take for whatever reason. Such times are tests of emotional control. If a player can learn to bite his lip and move on, a parent can learn to sit quietly for a moment and let the emotion pass. Learning to cope with disappointment is a valuable life skill.

The Other Team
Please donīt razz the other teamīs players. The other teamīs players should be considered off limits. Yelling at or deriding someone elseīs child is a shameful practice for an adult at a sporting event. Parents who intend to disrupt, distract or upset players exhibit the worst of poor sportsmanship.

Three Rules for Your Children
Here are some guidelines for parents to give their children who participate in sports. Three simple rules: First, once you start, you finish. Do not allow your children to quit a team for any reason. Second, the coachīs decision is final. Do not intercede or interfere whether you like a decision or not. Third, you do whatever it takes to make the team successful. Personal glory pales in relationship to team success.

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