17 Ways to Be a Better Sports Parent in 2024

Asia Mape, founder of I Love to Watch You Play, shares some resolutions to last the whole year long.

Asia Mape

| 4 min read

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  1. I will not follow up positive comments to my kids with things they need to work on; in sports, in school, and in life. I will save my “BUT” statements for independent conversations and only when they are truly necessary.
  2. I will keep quiet after games. Unless I’m asked my opinions about how they played or observations about the game, I will keep to myself.
  3. I will not care more about my kids’ success in their sport than they do. They will drive their own bus – however much they want to push, I will help them achieve their goals. But the motivating force will be them, not me.
  4. I will not let other parents’ behavior affect my mindset and enjoyment of my kid’s sports.
  5. I will not make every conversation about sports. When your child plays in college, it’s easy to get into the habit of talking too much about their sport when you finally get them on the phone. I will make sure this doesn’t become the main source of conversation.
  6. Our family will play together more. We will do more fun outdoor activities like hiking and running and playing sports together, just for fun.
  7. I will be a better role model by eating healthier, working out more and getting off my devices more often – instead of just demanding they do.
  8. I will make sure they are taking breaks. I won’t promote consistently filling their time with more training and activities. I will embrace and push for them to take time away from sports.
  9. I will allow them the freedom to fail. Instead of always trying to be one step ahead of their next misstep, I will sit back more and allow them to experience natural consequences, both positive and negative, of their choices.
  10. I will find more time or make the time for more important pursuits like spiritual, altruistic and fun. Sports has swallowed up the time we used to make for volunteering, religious endeavors, and simply finding hobbies our kids enjoy.
  11. I will not overanalyze their food and sleep like they are competing in an Olympic event instead of a youth soccer game.
  12. I will value artistic and creative pursuits of my children the same as I do their athletic. And this won’t be passive; it will be actively choosing to have the same interest and support in whatever my children pursue.
  13. I will learn and understand more about their sport and their position, instead of ignorantly commenting on things I’m only guessing about.
  14. I will stop spending a small fortune on their sports. Some are fixed costs, like club dues, gear and travel costs. But I will do my best to reduce spending on private lessons and take advantage of what the teams have to offer for extra training and additional practices instead of privates. I will also make them more accountable for their stuff – water bottles, sweatshirts, balls, so we are not buying new ones constantly.
  15. I will enjoy every minute of them playing. I now understand how quickly it can come to an end. Each failure and success I will appreciate to the fullest and understand the value in the entire journey.
  16. When I watch games online or television, I will maintain a positive and supportive energy, like I try to do when I’m in person. Just because no-one is around doesn’t mean it’s okay to revert to bad habits. Being a supportive sports parent doesn’t mean only when people can see you.
  17. I will tell them I 💛 to watch them play, consistently, instead of what they need to do better.

Asia Mape is the founder of ILovetoWatchYouPlay.com, a site for parents who want to raise happy, healthy and successful athletes. This post originally appeared on that site.

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