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Resources for Parents


In any new job, or role, we should attempt to get educated on the ins and outs of the position. Being a youth sports parent is no different. It's time to get educated on how to be a youth sports parent.


Here's Coach Sullivan's 2 cents:


Most important to remember - we're raising future teachers, police officers, construction workers, nurses, carpenters, social workers - we're not raising professional athletes - not yet. If our kids develop into a scholarship-worthy athlete, there's plenty of time to worry about that at older ages, 16, 17, or 18 years old. Statistics show the two biggest things we should worry about in youth sports is the athlete's enjoyment of the game and their broadened interest in many physical activities. The fly ball he dropped, the soccer goal she missed, the fumble on the 5-yard line - none of those things make the list of things to worry about in youth sports. 


Below you'll find anecdotes, videos, links, and other resources to ensure you are the organization's best youth sports parent. 


The Parents' Seat

Follow this link to the video - it's the #1 resource parents should watch prior to every season. 

Follow the link in the picture below to go to the website of a movement that outlines the only 6 words a kid needs to hear after a practice or a game.

9 Secrets Young Athletes Want Parents to Know - this is a blog post from long-time coach's wife and sports parent Janis Meredith ( regarding what your youth athlete really wants from you.

The Matheny Manifesto

This 6-page document is a must read  for all sports parents. It talks about a part of youth sports that many children absolutely dread - the car ride home. It's a moment that's logical to us parents, but does much more harm than good when we try to coach, teach, direct, or critique our kid after a sporting event, in the car, on the ride home. 





Here's a link to a great website - Breakthrough Basketball - with some more great points, a video where Coach Matheny is interviewed, and more great resources. Click the logo. 


The Car Ride Home from the Reformed Sports Project

Reformed Sports Project.png



Good advice from a coaching legend regarding best practices when cheering for your athlete during a sporting event.



As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to succeed in every way. But what we don't know is, we're often terrible at supporting them in their sporting events. 


The video below shows what kids want, directly from the mouths of young athletes...



What would your kid say?

Click the picture on the left to go to the free courses NFHS offers for parents. Most of them take less than 30 minutes to complete and provide extremely valuable information to help you understand how to be the best sports parent on the team. 

Parental Misconduct

Here's a great article from Forbes written by Bob Cook about How to Not Care.


Article by Dr. Shane Murphy for about How to be a Successful Youth Sports Parent.


8 Tips for Sports Parents and Kids in Sports


1. Sports should be fun for kids. Treat sport as a game—It’s not a business for kids. With all the money in professional sports today, it is hard for parents to understand that it’s just good fun to young athletes. The primary goal should be to have fun and enjoy the healthy competition.


2. Your own agenda is not your child’s. Young athletes compete in sports for many reasons. They enjoy the competition, like the social aspect, engage with being part of a team, and enjoy the challenge of setting goals. You might have a different agenda than your child and you need to recognize that racing is your child’s sport, not yours.


3. Emphasize a mental focus on the process of execution instead of results or trophies. We live in a society that focuses on results and winning, but winning come from working the process and enjoying the ride. Teach your child to focus on the process of the challenge of playing one shot, stroke, or race at a time instead of the number of wins or trophies.


4. You are a role model for your child athlete. As such, you should model composure and poise on the sidelines. When you are at competition your child mimics your behavior as well as other role models. You become a role model in how you react to a close race or the questionable behavior of a competitor. Stay calm, composed, and in control during games so your child superstar can mimic those positive behaviors.


5. Refrain from game-time coaching. During competition, it’s time to just let them play. All the practice should be set aside because this is the time that athletes need trust in the training and react on the court or field. “Just do it” as the saying goes. Too much coaching (or over-coaching) can lead to mistakes and cautious performance (called paralysis by over analysis in my work). Save the coaching for practice and use encouragement at games time instead.


6. Help your athlete to detach self-esteem from achievement. Too many athletes I work with attach self-worth to the level of performance or outcomes. Help your child understand that they are a person FIRST who happens to be an athlete instead of an athlete who happens to be a person. Success or number of wins should not determine a person’s self-esteem.



7. Ask your child athlete the right questions. Asking the right questions after competition and games will tell your child what you think is important in sports. If you ask, “Did you win?” your child will think winning is important. If you ask, “Did you have fun?” he or she will assume having fun is important.

Here's a great article from Forbes written by Bob Cook about How to Not Care.


Article by Dr. Shane Murphy for about How to be a Successful Youth Sports Parent.


Below is a list of parent resources specifically designed around the youth sports concept. 


National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)


Follow the Links Below for More Free Courses on:


Positive Sports Parenting


Concussions in Sports


Social Media


Sports Nutrition


National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS)


Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA)


Educated Sports Parent




Youth Sports of the Americas


Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)


Follow Janis Meredith @jbmcoaching on Twitter


This is one of the biggest lessons a young athlete, and young man or woman needs to learn. How do we deal with failure or perceived failure? 


Does your young athlete say things like, “I can never hit a good one,” or, “I’m always a terrible player,” or “Things never work out for me” after a tough game or competition?


Does he or she feel like every small failure is a monumental event? Does the softball player cry when she grounds out? Does the soccer player pout when he misses a goal? Does the football player get upset when he doesn't score a touchdown?


Follow this link to learn more about teaching resilience.

Got a perfectionist athlete? One that puts too much pressure on herself? One that doesn't know how to handle failure? Go to the Perfectionist Athlete

page for more information.


11 Habits of Happy and Positive

Sports Parents


Do you want to give your child

a positive youth sports

experience? If so, there are some

habits that you must develop. I

believe that happy and positive

sports parents have established

11 habits--intentional or not--and

have learned that the secret of positive sports parenting is really no secret at all. It’s decisions they’ve made--weekly, daily, and hourly--to practice behavior that will allow their children to get the most out of the youth sports experience. Happy and positive sports parents make choices that become habits, and those habits not only make their own experience as a sports parent more enjoyable, they make their child’s youth sports experience more enjoyable as well. Would you like to give your child a positive youth sports experience? Then start practicing these 11 habits of happy and positive sports parents.

Changing the Game: The

Parent's Guide to Raising

Happy, High-Performing

Athletes and Giving Youth

Sports Back to our Kids

In Changing the Game, John

O’Sullivan draws upon three

decades of high level playing

and coaching experience to

take us behind the scenes of

competitive youth sports, and demonstrates how they have changed from being a fun pastime to an ultra competitive, adult centered enterprise that is failing our children. He then teaches parents that the secret to raising happy, high performing children begins by helping them attain a positive mindset, and an enjoyable youth sports environment. By following seven actionable principles of high performance, parents can give their children a competitive edge, while at the same time making youth sports a positive experience for their family, their community, and their country.

Consider This

Here's what happens:

The experienced ref is on the court. He makes a crucial call in the game and gets heckled. He decides he's not taking this anymore. 

Next week there's a new, less experienced ref on the court. He makes more bad calls due to his lack of experience. He gets heckled. He quits.

See the pattern?

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