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Do parents ruin youth sports?

Published: 2023-02-09
Do parents ruin youth sports?
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As a parent, it can be tempting to want to be involved in every aspect of your child's life, including their sports activities. However, it's important to consider the impact your involvement can have on your child's experience in youth sports.

While well-intentioned, some parents can actually do more harm than good by hovering over their child's practices.

By overstepping boundaries and not allowing the coach to do their job, parents risk ruining the sports experience for both their child and their teammates. This can lead to negative consequences, such as decreased confidence, lack of team cohesion, and decreased enjoyment of the sport. In this blog, we will explore the reasons why too much parental involvement can be detrimental to youth sports and what the right balance should look like.

I've been guilty about it because I attended my kid's practice when they played tennis. They are in their twenties now and still play, but that's another story.

I loved watching them play back then, even though I didn't realize my contribution was harmful. Why? Because I was evaluating the coach's performance, as a former tennis player, I had plenty of experience, and believe me, I there was a mistake in my kid's training, I would discover it. The damage didn't stop there because I shared all my insights with them on the ride back home, another main topic in sports parenting.

What did I achieve? Relief in my mind unloading it, confusion in them, and lowering their confidence in their coach. I know it's hard not to attend our son or daughter's practice, so I listed five reasons not to do it below.


Why parents should not attend kids' practice

Interference with Coaching: Parents who attend practice sessions can often interfere with the coach's ability to run the session effectively. They may offer unsolicited advice or criticism to their child or other players, disrupting the session flow and potentially confusing the athletes.

Decreased Independence and Confidence: Children may feel overly monitored or pressured when parents attend practices, leading to reduced independence and confidence. This can be especially problematic for children who are naturally more introverted or sensitive.

Increased Pressure and Expectations: If a parent is constantly present at practice sessions, they may place unrealistic expectations and pressure on their child to perform at a certain level. This can negatively affect the child's mental health and overall enjoyment of the sport.

Distraction for the Athletes: Children may become distracted if they know their parent's presence during practice. This can impact their focus and ability to absorb information and effectively participate in the session.

Impact on Coach-Athlete Relationship: The relationship between a coach and their athletes is critical for effective coaching. If parents attend practices, it can be challenging for the coach to establish and maintain an appropriate level of authority and rapport with the athletes. This can negatively impact the effectiveness of the coaching and the overall experience for the athletes.

Stories are far better than facts, so I share one worth watching in the following video. This lesson is one of the 25 of the Parentshift online course, where I distilled the skills, as parents, we have to train. Today, start with this one, and you will be halfway there. As Loa Tse said, 'The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.'


To summarize, do you attend your son or daughter's math class at school? I don't think so. You let the teacher teach your son, so let the coach do his job. Everyone has a role, as in a band; play on the scale. Your kid will appreciate it, and you'll be significantly rewarded.