No matter what the sport, all parents want their children to perform well.
The benefits of team sports at youth level are well documented, and there are a lot of parents who put in the hard miles each week to ensure that their children are getting the most out of their chosen sports.
It is also a fact that parents take a variety of different approaches when standing on the sidelines supporting their child. Do you recognise these five parental stereotypes?
1. Coach Clara
Clara always knows best. Although her role is supposed to involve supportive encouragement during the game, she can’t help but overstep the line. She’s barking instructions, telling anyone who will listen that the coach has it all wrong and generally making her child highly uncomfortable. It may come from a good place, but Clara needs to recognise that only one person should be doing the instructing – the coach. Her behaviour is undermining for the coach, confusing for her child (who now has two sets of instructions to follow) and irritating for other parents.
2. Supportive Susan
Susan is the lifeblood of her child’s club. Nothing is too much trouble. She’s the club secretary, coach and chauffeur all rolled into one. She’ll always find a positive if things aren’t going well on the field, and she’ll always be the most vocal even when it comes to supporting other people’s kids. She gets on well with all the parents, never has an angry word to say to the referee and organises all club socials.
3. Referee Roger
Roger recognises that his job is not to coach, but he can’t help himself when it comes to getting on the referee's case. Hustling and harrying the ref from the sidelines, criticising every decision and explaining to other parents what the correct call would have been, Roger is something of a bore. The other parents are too polite to challenge him, but privately they wish he’d just shut up and support his child. He is one of the reasons why in some sports, referees are walking away from the game.
4. Gossiping Gary
Gary wants his kid to do well, but also sees Saturdays as a chance for a good old chinwag with the other parents. The occasional clap of encouragement is sandwiched between endless natter about everything except sport. The way he discusses the lives of others behind their backs makes you wonder what he is saying behind yours. One to avoid on game day!
5. Reserved Rob
Rob gives little away. He brings his kid to practice and games each week but keeps himself to himself and doesn’t mix with the other parents. He says hi and bye, stands watching the game quietly and never kicks up a fuss. A nice contrast to some of the other parental stereotypes.
Every parent has their good and bad points, but those who provide positive support and remember their role are going a long way towards ensuring their child has a positive experience in youth sport.