You have probably seen many parents during youth sports standing at the sidelines and shouting out comments to their own kids. More so, oftentimes these comments are not only directed at their own kids, but to their teammates, trainers and even the referee. How much does this behavior affect the sporting experience of their kid? How much should the parents get themselves involved?

It goes without saying that parents have an important part to play in the sporting development of their children. Nevertheless, care must be taken, as to the strategies adopted by parents because parental behaviors can have both negative and positive effects on the child’s sporting encounter.

We all know that sport success has to do with the level of the mental toughness of the athlete. If your child is always discouraged after sporting events, talks of quitting and other same-like remarks, then you need to take the game to the “mental” level. Both you and your budding athlete can benefit from sports psychology for kids, which focuses on how to build mental toughness, as well as improve performance.

When it comes to child development, favorable parental participation can help develop important skills like self-esteem, motivation and social skills. These invaluable skills learnt from sport also lead to development in other aspects of life, including school and extra-curricular activities. These skills are more evident when the child has a greater self-awareness of their own life abilities. Thus, parents can further help with their children’s’ skill development by encouraging their kids to consider what skills they’re acquiring from sport.

The importance of parental participation and sports mental training are, in addition, apparent in elite youth sports, for example in football academies. This unique setting is mainly concerned with helping the development of players to achieve a professional standard. The bottom line is that the importance of the part parents play in youth sport is not questionable, but care must be taken to make sure the satisfaction and athletic growth of the child isn’t hindered.

Here are dos and don’ts of being an influential and effective sport parent to your child:


  • Encourage your child to develop self-awareness of their already acquired skills. This will improve self-confidence and ease the transfer of such skills to other aspects of life.
  • Have trust in their coaches. If the parent and the coach is portraying the same messages, then the likelihood of the child becoming mistaken is lowered, which means they’ll have the capacity to focus more on working towards set targets.
  • Encourage your child to always do their best without putting pressure on them.
  • Provide enough psychological support. Always reassuring your child that you’re there whenever they need you, will show how much you support them.


  • Don’t get over-involved. Agreed, you want your athlete to succeed and becoming over-involved may just be your way of showing how much you care. However, you need to be careful as there is a big difference between supporting your child and getting over-involved.
  • Don’t provide inappropriate coaching advice. If for any reason you disagree with the advice provided by the coach, try to discuss it with the coach in private instead of giving a conflicting advice to your kid.

Above all, always try to apply mental toughness in sports to boost your child’s performance, as well as help him/her succeed both in sports and in life.


  1. This is so true!! I’ve been to many games of my sons where the parents were screaming at the kids from the sides. Then the other teams parents kept yelling at them to stop. It was so embarrassing and I felt sorry for the kids. some were crying and some were just shaking their heads in shock how the parents were acting. This is defininetly an issue that needs to be dealt with to make the kids feel comfortable and strong.

  2. When I used to play youth sports, I noticed that some parents would completely override the coach with their own opinions when he’d try to talk with their child after the game to give them advice for the next game. I think parents need to be willing to take a step back and like you said, if need be, talk with the coach in private so that there’s a unified front of support for their child instead of differing opinions which leads to more stress and confusion for the child than needed.