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How to Be a Good Fan at Your Child’s Games, Part 2

In Part 1 of How to Be a Good Fan at Your Child’s Games, the focus was on skills you need to have and use in order to model appropriate behavior at sporting events. Those skills include:

  • Cheering for your child’s team and not against opponents
  • Respecting all game officials

Now let’s look at the importance of being positive, not critical. Who hasn’t heard parents screaming commands or opinions like these from the sidelines?

“What were you thinking?!”
“Throw it to Johnny!”
“Get her out of there!”

When parents shout out criticisms and complaints, or even instructions and advice, they can disrupt the game for everyone. Players can get distracted and discouraged when someone other than a coach tells them what to do. Nothing good comes from being a critical fan in the stands.

Practice Being Positive, Not Critical
When a game is close or a questionable call doesn’t go your team’s way, that’s when it’s most important for you to be positive. Remind yourself that it’s just a game. Let the players play and the coaches coach.

If you do find yourself getting emotional or upset, take a few deep breaths and give yourself time to calm down. Maybe call a friend or talk with another parent about something other than the game. If necessary, leave the game for a few minutes (get a drink or go to the restroom). Once you’ve regained your composure, you can enjoy the game with a more positive attitude and realistic outlook.

Always remember that your job is to be a cheerleader, and nothing else, for your child and the team at practices and games. Do your job well by cheering for the team, respecting officials and staying positive.

Learn more about modeling behavior in Competing with Character: Let's Put Sportsmanship and Fun Back Into Youth Sports by Kevin Kush, M.A., with Michael Sterba, M.H.D.

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