Obviously, parents of youth athletes should help their child build confidence, develop physical skills, and mold game experiences and challenges with life lessons. The key to this is to be aware of your child’s level of enjoyment and to make sure their child is enjoying the experience through challenges that arise.

Parents who can help their youth athletes develop physical and mental skills during practice and competitive games are of great value to their child, the team and the coach. Competitive sports undoubtedly brings some great experiences and memories to youth athletes and supportive parents. The parent, who is a friendly supporter, provides the most benefit to the team.

Parents who choose to help coach or train their child and other team players are taking on more responsibility. With that responsibility comes risk. Parents, who have the capability of coaching or training that particular sport, need to keep their lessons in sync with the coaches methods and goals. It is parents who think they know more or a better way than the coach, who run risk of harming the team as a whole.

Another risk that can have a negative effect on young athletes occurs when the parents get too emotionally involved in their child’s progressions and regressions. Once this happens, you can expect problems to occur. Problems begin to take place between the parent and child when overly involved parents cross the line and become a controller rather than a helper.

When a parent becomes a controller, the relationship between the parent and youth athletes can become so detrimental that the child no longer enjoys the sport. He or she does not look forward to the game experience anymore, plays poorly, lowers team moral and begins to resent their parents. When ego’s take over, everyone involved loses.

The best advice for parents of young athletes is to be supportive with hands off. The smart parent is the one who knows their child will figure things out in their own time and in their own time.