Did you know that basketball and volleyball were invented by early YMCA leaders?
Our sports programs develop more than skills—they develop character. We offer a variety of programs for youth and adults, including recreation and league sports. Coaches—often volunteers and including many parents—emphasize teamwork, cooperation, and developing good values.
Your Responsibilities as a YMCA Sports Parent
All parents want their kids to do well and have fun in the activities that they pursue. We want you to be actively involved in positive ways with your child’s sports experiences in Y Sports. To do that, you first need to understand your responsibilities as a parent of a child in Y Youth Sports.
Download a copy of our Youth Sports Handbook for families and coaches.
1. Encourage your child to play sports, but don’t pressure. Let your child choose to play---and to quit---if he or she wants.
2. Understand what your child wants from sports, and provide a supportive atmosphere for achieving these goals.
3. Set limits on your child’s participation. Don’t make sport everything in your child’s life; make it a part of life.
4. Make sure the coach is qualified to guide your child through the sports experience.
5. Keep winning in prospective, and help your child to do the same.
6. Help your child set challenging but realistic performance goals rather than focusing only on “winning the game”.
7. Help your child understand the valuable lessons sports can teach.
8. Help your child meet the responsibilities to the team and the coach.
9. Turn your child over to the coach at practices and games---don’t meddle or coach from the sidelines.
10. Supply the coach with information on any allergies or special health conditions your child has. Make sure your child brings any necessary medications to practices and games.
Be Involved, But Not Too Involved
YMCA Sports needs enthusiastic involvement from parents to be successful. Volunteering your time not only helps the program, its also an enjoyable way to meet other adults and make new friends. Here are just a few ways to become involved:
- Be a coach or an assistant coach
- Become an official or umpire
- Keep time or score
- Maintain equipment or facilities
- Coordinate registrations
- Be an announcer, if applicable
- Be a first aid attendant
- Coordinate refreshments
- Become part of a car pool
A healthy involvement will usually be welcomed by both the coach and your son or daughter. However, no coach wants to be---or should ---second guessed by parents on strategy moves or other coaching decisions. Signs of parents being too closely involved include the following:
- You are overly concerned about the outcome of the game.
- You spend a lot of time talking with the coach about the game plan, player skill levels, and the way he or she conducts practices and coaches games.
- Your son or daughter has stopped enjoying the sports or has asked you to stop coming to games or practices.
- You require your child to take extra practice.
Be involved, show interest, and help the coach where he or she needs help, encourage your child---and enjoy the sport yourself!
A YMCA Sport Parent’s Code of Conduct
1. Remain in the spectator area during competitions unless prior, positive arrangements have been made.
2. Let coaches coach.
3. Keep all comments positive to players, parents, officials, and coaches of either team.
4. Come to games sober, and refrain from alcohol or other items of detriment at sports contests or practices.
5. Cheer for your child’s team.
6. Show interest, enthusiasm, and support for your child.
7. Be in control of your emotions.
8. Help when you’re asked to by a coach or an official.
9. Thank the coaches, officials and other volunteers who conduct the events.
10. BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL AT ALL TIMES.
Helping Your Child Enjoy Sports
- Developing a winning prospective.
- Building your child’s self esteem.
- Emphasizing fun, skill development, and striving to succeed.
- Helping your child set performance goals.
Developing a Winning Prospective
Every decision parents make in guiding their children should be based on what’s best for the child and second on what may help the child succeed. Stated another way, this perspective places Athletes First, Winning Second.
We’re not saying winning is not important. Winning---or striving to win---is essential to enjoyable competition. Pursuing victory and achieving goals are sweet rewards of sports participation. But they can also turn sour if, through losing, you or your child lose the proper prospective also. An obsession with winning often produces fear of failure, resulting in below average performances and upset children.
Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Building self-esteem in your child is one of your most important parenting duties. It’s not easy---and it’s made even more difficult in sport by the prevailing attitude of “winning is everything”. Athletes who find their self-worth through winning will go through tough times when they lose.
Building self-esteem in your child takes more than encouragement. You need to show your child unconditional approval and love. Don’t praise dishonestly; children can see through that. If your child strikes out three times and makes an effort in a softball games, don’t tell her she played well. Just show the same amount of love and approval for her---not for her performance---that you showed before the game.
Emphasizing Fun, Skill Development, and Striving to Win
The reason you should emphasize fun is quite simple: without it, your child may not want to keep playing. Kids don’t have fun when they stand around in practice or sit on the bench during games, when they feel pressure to win and don’t improve or learn new skills. Conversely, they do have fun when practices are well organized, they get to play in games, they develop new skills, and the focus is on striving to succeed.
Helping Your Child Set Performance Goals
Performance goals---which emphasize individual skill improvement---are much better than the outcome goal of winning for two reasons:
1. Performance goals are in the athlete’s control.
2. Performance goals help the athlete improve.
Performance goals should be specific, and they should be challenging but not too difficult to achieve. For example, if your child plays soccer, you might help him set the goals of making short, crisp passes; of staying between the ball and the goal on defense; and of giving his best effort throughout the game.
You (and your child’s coach) should help your young athlete set such goals. And help your child focus on performance goals before a game; this focus will help sports to be an enjoyable learning experience for your son or daughter.
Wabash County YMCA
500 S. Cass St. Wabash, IN. 46992
(260) 563-9622 (YMCA)
Become a YMCA Volunteer. You will never do anything more satisfying!