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Parents: It is Never About You

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I will do everything in my power to keep this article as professional as possible without turning it into a rant on paper.

Parents across the country are making their children’s athletic endeavors about them, and its something that not only is embarrassing the parent, but it’s hurting their kids more than they know. There is a difference between supporting your child by showing up at their game, and turning the game into a giant spectacle in which you are the main attraction.

College Coaches Recruit Parents

Recently, I was surfing through Twitter, and I came across a tweet from a notable assistant coach. He stated, “I was down to two separate players playing in this game as to who I liked more, after finding out these crazy parents are of one of them, I now have my answer.” In the world of college basketball there isn't THAT big of a difference between certain recruits. This is where the intangible things become a factor. One major intangible that often parents don’t realize is the situation of the player outside of the basketball court can play a major role. A lot of coaches don’t recruit players in which they feel the recruitment process is going to be a circus, and a lot of coaches don’t recruit players whose parents are going to EVER be an issue. Coaches have too much to worry about, so why bring on another issue (a players crazy, or perceived crazy, parents). All of the sudden this “support” that you are showing your son or daughter has not only looked incredibly idiotic, but it also potentially cost you financially, and your son an opportunity to fulfill his dreams. Was it really worth it?

Players Behaviors are a Direct Reflection of their Parents

How are you talking to your children when they get off of the court? Are you building them up and helping them understand their weaknesses in order to improve them? Or are you commiserating with them and blaming everyone else for what went wrong? I see thousands of players every year, and more often than not, the way that the players act on the court is a direct reflection of how the coach and the parents are acting. If a parent is complaining about 500 calls in the game, then the player is complaining about 500 calls in the game. And you know what they are not doing when they are complaining about the calls during the game? Worrying about the next play!! Teach your kids to fight through adversity because 9 times out of 10 if you take a step back from the situation you will realize that the refs were making the same calls for both teams, and in the end it was about who played better, not who got more calls. In short, the conversations you have with your children should be about their time in the game, not bashing the coach’s decisions or the referees calls. Be an energy giver, not an energy sucker, and be a supporter, not an adversary.

ITS NOT ABOUT YOU

Nobody cares what you think as a parent. The referees are not going to change their calls if you yell at them, and if anything they will give you LESS calls because they will try to overcompensate if they feel they are getting bullied by the parents. You are embarrassing your kids. They may never tell you this, but trust me, you are. I recently sat next to a group of parents at an AAU game, in which one mother was yelling at the referees, the coach, and the other team’s players. One by one the parents around her moved away until finally the player on the court turned to the mother and yelled, “SHUT UP MOM!!” This player got the courage, and ridiculously had to yell at his mom in front of a gym full of fans, but even if it doesn't get to this point, there is nothing admirable about being the loud parent who everyone is looking at. Just enjoy the game and enjoy the experience, but don’t cause a scene and make it about you. For those of you who have been ejected from your child’s basketball game, you should be ashamed. Support your kids by being there for them, and occasionally cheer and be involved in the game. At the end of the day its about your children and you have the privilege to watch and support them, but not the privilege act like an idiot during the game. If you want to yell and scream and run up and down the sidelines like a maniac, coach the team. Most coaches are giving the refs and teams more than they can chew without crazy parents constantly chiming in.

Think about why you are there, and remember there are always people watching you. You may not care about what other people think, but if you care about your children’s progression as basketball players and people, the game should always stay about the kids who are playing on the court, and not the parents who are sitting in the stands.

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