How to be a Supportive Parent to a Child in Competitive Sports — The Sporting Blog

Support them in their setbacks as well as their successes

Children who spend a lot of time participating in a sport often have quite a lot of experience of success. However, they will also experience failure- and this is not necessarily a bad thing! It teaches them that no one can win all the time, and encourages the development of good sportsmanship towards their teammates and competitors. These are good skills to have in life, as well as in sport.

However, failure can, of course, be very upsetting. This is the time when it’s really important to support your child and help them to accept their disappointment. Whilst we, as adults, can understand that being passed over for a place on the team, or getting a poor competition result, is not the end of the world, that can certainly be what it feels like to a child.

Show them that their attitude is more important than the actual result, and of course, reinforce to them that you still think they are wonderful, whatever the results.

Don’t correct their coach

You might not always agree with the decisions your child’s coach makes, or perhaps you sometimes feel that they are not pushing your child enough to improve as quickly as you think they are able to. But always remember, the qualified, experienced coaches who work with your child will have many years of sport-specific knowledge behind them, and specialist contacts within the sport that they may call on if they need extra expertise in a particular area.

Don’t undermine what your child’s coach has said, or offer suggestions on things you think could be done better. This challenges their professionalism in your child’s eyes and may end up with your child no longer respecting their coach. Mutual respect between coach and athlete is so important in high-level sports, whatever the age of the athlete.

With that being said, if you ever feel that there is a more serious issue that needs to be discussed regarding a coach, don’t be afraid to bring it up within your club.

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