We've already seen a few ways that parents can help or hurt your chances at college recruitment, from aggressive takeovers of the application process to intimate one-on-ones with your high school coach to discuss strategy and game time (yikes). We've even had celebrity parents demonstrate front-and-center how well-intentioned feelings about their rising star kids can turn sour: P-Diddy (Puff? Puff Daddy? Diddy Daddy?) repurposed a kettlebell in a volatile and ill-fated attempt at showing the coach who's boss (spoiler alert: it wasn't Puff). Or take the all-too-appropriate red-card response from the referee at David Beckham's son's soccer game, who gave the celeb a one-way ticket off the field for interfering with one of his calls. Mom and Dad, no matter how in touch with reality, are frequently at the mercy of their rawest emotions when it comes to watching you play sports.
How can you stop your parents from launching into a rage at your next game?
It's a long road from encouraging high-fives to courtside meltdowns, so let's take a look at where the trouble starts. Left to their own devices, many parents would put on their blinders and focus solely on your performance during a game. They'll cheer when you score, assist, or take a particularly thirst-quenching chug from your Powerade. But a truly calm, supportive parent that isn't two degrees from a freakout? They'll cheer on your teammates and put positive vibes out for the whole stadium to enjoy. They'll check the aggressive chants at the door and focus on making it an environment where you feel motivated to do your thing. They'll inspire you to deliver the same sportsmanship on the field as they're delivering off of it.
Help wayward, anxious parentals find that game-day Zen by encouraging them to get to know other parents, teaching them about your teammates (and why they rock), and reminding them why you joined up to play in the first place. If they're involved in the team mentality and enjoying themselves no matter what, you're less likely to see steam pouring out of their ears next time you get sidelined.
The large majority of student athletes play sports because they enjoy them, and not for the sole purpose of getting into college or scoring a scholarship. Exciting games and long-lasting friendships are just a couple of the incredible benefits athletes gain from participating, but we occasionally see parents who forget those minor details and focus solely on sports as an opportunity for advancement. This mentality can be devastating not only to your ability to enjoy games and practice sessions, but to your family dynamic as well. It sends a clear message that victories are acceptable, losses are not.
If you find yourself constantly engaging in long post-game discussions about techniques, play time, and rarely hear "I love watching you play", it's time to have a chat with Mom and Dad. Reset the dialog and point them in the right direction with a few boundaries, like how (and this may shock them!) your coach is the one who directs you on the field, not them. As embarrassing as it might be for you, their main job is to give you a giant hug after each and every game (just maybe not in front of all your friends).
It might be time for you to school them in the dos and don'ts of parenting a student athlete. Check out some helpful advice here!