Youth Sports Parents Who Can’t Say No

Youth Sports Parents Who Can’t Say No
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Does your youth rule the coop? Do you often let them get away with things at tournaments, games, and practice? Or maybe you’re youth is too demanding and you find yourself running to their aid in sports? If any of these sound like you or someone you know then this article will definitely give you a few pointers that could save your youth from being disliked by other players, and help them grow up a little before they head to college.

You love your kid, I get it, but are you really helping them or enabling their bad habits? Below you will find three examples of how youth sports parents really just need to say no, and start building the character of their young athlete.

3 Scenarios Youth Sports Parents Need to Say No In:

Scenario #1:  Sunscreen Caddy

Your child is playing a sport that requires them to be outside, it could be soccer, softball, baseball, etc.. Guess What? They forgot their sunscreen! Little Sarah calls out from the field, “Mom, mom, mom! I need sunscreen! Oh no…cancer could already be setting in, right? So you do what any loving parent would do and run from the stands, and frantically search your purse, or car for sunscreen. Ah ha! You found it. So you run to little Sarah and start applying the sunscreen while the team is warming up.

You might have read this and thought, exactly! That’s what I would do. What’s wrong with this scenario? Youth sports parents are in a tight spot, their child is young enough to be dependant on their parents for items, and prep, but this situation has a few issues.

Problems With Scenario #1:

Catering to your child, because they forgot to prepare tells them that you will always be there to pick up their slack. They don’t have to be responsible; they have a mom or dad who does it for them. One way to fix this is give your child a checklist of what they need to have done prior to leaving for their game. Or instruct them to keep sunscreen in their bag so that they have access, and won’t require you to run to their aid.

Can you guess the other problem with this scenario? The second problem is the fact that Sarah’s mom pulled her aside while the rest of the team was warming up and preparing to play so that she could apply sunscreen to her. This interferes with the team mojo, and teaches your child a bad habit that they will not get a way with as they start playing on more competitive teams. Do you really want to be worrying about your kids sunscreen when they are 17 or 18? I didn’t think so. So, break the habit now and teach them that warm ups and game prep are to prepare them for game play. It is extremely important for mentally setting the stage for their athletic performance.

Scenario #2:  Mommy Daddy Ball

As a youth sports parent you will likely find yourself learning how to do the score book, and keep track of game stats. This is very common, and can be very helpful for a coach and the team. Some youth sports parents even keep their own stats so that they are able to talk them over with their child, and measure their performance.

Sarah’s mom has volunteered to keep track of stats, she watches the game play and marks down players and their mistakes with ease, suddenly Sarah was in a tough situation and Sarah’s mom thinks it wasn’t an error. She even has a little argument with a fellow parent about how it wasn’t an error because of x, y, or z. After all Sarah had a rough day, and she deserves to be cut some slack. By the end of the game, other players have racked up mistakes, but somehow Sarah’s stats look flawless. She has had the game of her life based on the book.

 Problems With Scenario #2:

In my family we call this “Mommy, Daddy Ball.” Youth parents have a difficult time seeing the flaws in their children, and whose to blame you, it’s tough. You love them, you know them the best, and you know how hard they are working. The last thing you want to do is mark them down on their performance. You will probably rack up excuses like, “ Well that was a really tough play, it’s not her fault.” Or “Well she can’t help that Susie threw the ball in the dirt, how was she supposed to block that.” When the truth is, stats in youth sports can be one of the most beneficial tools to teach your young athlete and improve their performance. If you hide all their mistakes in the stats, they will never learn from them, and it will only hurt them in the long-term. So while you may love your child, play it fair, be as critical as you are with other players.

Another rather upsetting fact I would like to share is that because you are doing the book for your child, you could also be judged by other parents and players. They will be skeptical of stats that don’t match their perception of the game and they could take it out on you or your child. It’s just all around better for everyone with you try to be the most unbiased stat tracker you can be. Do some plays or situations have you stumped? Ask the coach what they think on the play so that you can be fair.

girl is angryScenario #3:  Toddler’s & Tiara’s Syndrome

This scenario might be less common, but let’s give it a spin. Little Sarah just turned 16, and wow is she a handful. She is in the middle of a close game, and shouts from the playing are, “Dad! That wasn’t my fault! I was Susie, she messed up!” This is followed up with, “ Dad I need something to drink now! No I don’t want water I want red Powerade. Not Gatorade dad I hate it! Come on hurry up!” Guess what, Sarah’s team lost, and after the game she pouts and complains about her teammates mistakes right in front of them. She then demands her parents get her food now.

 Problems With Scenario #3:

I know a lot of you like to be entertained by Toddler’s and Tiaras, but this little display of spoiled brat won’t cut it in youth sports. As a parent in youth sports, you need to teach your children to respect coaches, parents, and their teammates. No one, and I mean no one will take this kind of attitude, and especially not college coaches. Now, I know this is a pretty extreme example of a Diva, but if your child is displaying actions similar to these then you need to have a “Come to Jesus” talk with them. For those of you who don’t know what a come to Jesus talk is, here you go:

Come to Jesus Talk: Getting called on the carpet, dressed down, or otherwise chewed out in a severe manner. Usually used in conjunction with “meeting'” (meeting)

So, take the time to sit your child down and explain to them why this kind of behavior is not allowed and must change. Here are three reasons this behavior is so bad:

  1. No one want’s a teammate who is a spoiled brat.
  2. Coaches don’t like entitled players.
  3. Colleges will not recruit bad attitudes.


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Athlete Swagger: How to Spot a Diva/Divo

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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins