3 proven ways how to be a good sports parent

3 proven ways how to be a good sports parent

Sport is a chance for children to learn skills and it should be enjoyed. Are you up for the challenge in how to be a good sports parent?

Every parent will become a sporting parent at some or other time in their lives. To be effective sporting parents, it’s crucial to understand your task in providing the opportunities and conditions allowing your children to develop to their full potential.

Wayne Goldsmith refers to the performance partnership where each of the 3 partners has a specific task. The coach, the athlete (child) and the parent.

High expectations can be a tremendous burden on the shoulders of young athletes. One of the best ways to approach sport for teens should be, win or lose, effort should always be celebrated, regardless of the result.

Many children are dropping out of organized sports by their early teens the main reasons being that sports are no longer fun and too demanding.

As a parent, it’s important to remember that you can either make or break your child’s sporting experience. Where do you rank as a sports parent? Let us look at 3 proven ways how to be a good sports parent.


‘Your child’s success or lack of success in sport does not indicate what kind of parent you are.

But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient and tries their best

IS a direct reflection of your parenting’.

The partnership

Most athletes want support from parents, but not pressured or coached from the sidelines. Parents often seem to want more success in sport than their children do, and maybe they do not realize that they are trying to live indirectly through their child.

1. Sports coaches assist athletes in developing to their full potential. They coach and teach relevant skills, strategy and techniques. They identify strengths and shortcomings, provide advice on health and lifestyle.

2. The athlete has clear responsibilities within the performance partnership. They must strive to perform with the full extent of their potential, give all they can physically, mentally and emotionally to the best of their ability.

3. The sports parent has some enormously important tasks to be performed in the partnership. It requires time, motivation, encouragement, financial assistance, etc. Parents are also responsible for assisting their child in developing values like honesty, integrity, modesty, courage, discipline, time management skills and teaching them to be responsible for their own actions and doings.

3 Essentials needed for sporting parents.

1. Don’t cross the boundary. Don’t compete with your child’s coach and tell them how to do their job. Never automatically side with your children against their coaches. Teach them to understand the necessity of discipline, rules, and regulations. Don’t push them in the direction that gives you the most satisfaction.

Your athlete is an extension of you, but don’t assume they feel the same way you do, have the same goals or have the same attitude. When the parent is living indirectly through the athlete or trying to coach the athlete, everything breaks down.

2. Setting standards by being role models. What you do is much more important than what you say. Parents are the first role model for a child, and one of their most important. Your teenager is more conscious than you realize of your acts and can imitate you in more ways than they are even aware of. It’s important to make sure that you yourself are the best role model you can be.

No one is perfect. Always seek self-improvement. There’s always something that you can do to improve yourself. Always practice what you preach. Children learn the wrong lessons in life when they see their role models behave in ways that contradict what they say.

By taking the opportunity to model healthy ways to deal with angry feelings, you can help by making sure you are practising self-control. Be more mindful of the things you do that could be noticed by your teenager.

Self-control will also help to keep you calm and composed while watching your children participating in sport.


3. Teach, build & develop core values and character traits daily. 

Children do not develop values automatically. Children learn values by observing what parents do. They will assume that what you think is important in life and emerge from childhood with clear views on what their parents really value. On that, they will base their values system.

Always try to surround your children with productive models and conditions where positive behaviours are reinforced.

Trust and place your athlete in the driving seat of their own destiny.

Teens love to thrive. To achieve it, they need to have the freedom to become independent thinkers trusting their intuition and be courageous and daring. 

Qualities to develop daily to pave their way to success.

1. Resilience and Grit. Resilience is what enables children to emerge from challenging experiences and the ability to bounce back after failure with a positive sense of themselves and their futures.

2. Resourcefulness. When children are resourceful, they will always come up with new methods and possibilities making them more self-sufficient.

3. Focus and Self-Control. Self-control is the conflict between impulsive and reckless behaviour and doing what’s right or valuable. It is the capacity to regulate thoughts, desires or actions to achieve a higher objective

4. Accountability. Long-term success in whatever one wants comes from people who have learned accountability for their actions and will admit when they are wrong so they can focus on the solution and not waste time and energy finding a scapegoat.

5. High self-esteem. One of the biggest threats to healthy self-esteem is the fear of failure. It’s an unnecessary concern for both parent and child. Failing at something means that you’ve tried but had some difficulty with it. The positive is finding the solution!

6. Gratitude will change your child’s life. It will help them to tap into a powerful source of inspiration to witness life’s beauty and wonder. A  daily gratitude practice will importantly increase their happiness and physical health.


As the major shareholder in this partnership, you as the parent can make it or break it. The secret to success for any investment is smart action, time and patience.

Be an amazing sporting parent. Give your children unconditional love, security, stability, consistency, education, structure and emotional support. These are the things children need to thrive. 

Teach them the things only you can teach, compassion, cleanliness, creativity, enthusiasm, fairness, faith, forgiveness, honesty, honour, hope, humility, integrity, kindness, patience, respect and trust. If every partner delivers, it will open the way to amazing results.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.” – Colin Powell

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