We all know there are some youth sports parents that are over the top – but the majority of youth sports parents are actually part of the solution, not part of the problem. In fact, without parent involvement, their is no way that youth sports leagues can function. We have found that by using our simple program, more parents want to volunteer! Parents become more supportive of the coaches and less likely to voice their opinions towards officials and umpires.
We have created a three pronged approach to help everyone to be on the same page. We call it “LIKE-MINDED.”
- Coaching Clinic
- Players Pre Season Clinics
- Parent Orientation
The Importance of Parental Involvement in Youth Sports
When it comes to the impact they have on their child’s team sports experience, they should not underestimate their influence. Children learn from watching others and copying the behavior they see demonstrated. It is most often the parent who is the first person to introduce a child to sports, and parental involvement can affect whether a child enjoys the experience or not. The more positive and fun the parents attitude is about playing sports, the more their child will have interest.
We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. She came to the house and tried the beds- one was too hard, one was too soft and one was just right. Believe it or not, this is exactly how many parents are with their child when they participate on a youth sports team.
The parent that is too hard on their child to win or be successful will chase them away from falling in love and wanting to play- the child will want to quit. The parent that is too soft or not engaged will actually teach their child that practice commitments and community involvement are not important and the child will lose interest. The parent that realizes the value of the experience for their child and volunteers to coach a team and support the league- their child feels supported, learns responsibility, and tends to thrive.
PLAY HARD. HAVE FUN.
Role of Parents in Youth Sports
Parental involvement in sports can be looked at in a wide range. There is the “drop-off and run parent” to the “super-involved.” The emotional side ranges from low to high and from positive to negative. Positive involvement includes supporting their child with positive encouragement, their presence at games, reinforcing the terms and teaching of their coach, while allowing their child to make his/her own decisions about what sport to participate in as well as providing financial and other resources that enable his/her participation. Negative involvement refers to directive behavior, and pressure to win or perform up to a parent’s high expectations. Recent research has shed light onto the relationship between parental involvement and the type of youth sports experience a child has.
Supportive Parental Involvement in Sports
It is not surprising that the research overwhelmingly points to a connection between positive, supportive parental involvement and a child’s level of enjoyment and success in the sport he or she is playing. *NAYS Sports Parent Report Fall 2017.
It has also been suggested that a moderate level of involvement would be the optimum level of parental involvement. The parents that help coach, volunteer for the league and support the process it becomes a more enjoyable experience for their child and for the parent as well.
There needs to be caution of becoming the over-involved parent. It may create high levels of pressure, while under-involved parents do not provide enough support to facilitate a child’s desire to participate. But those parents who are moderately involved seem to provide just the right balance not only to facilitate enjoyment, but also to challenge the child to continue to grow and develop his/her skills.
On the surface, this theory seems to hold up. Without support, especially showing respect and valuing the coaches and managers of the league not too mention the financial and emotional support it takes, it would be very difficult for a child to be able to participate, and the pressure felt from the parent who is over-involved could easily take out all the enjoyment of playing sports.
However, what appears to be the most significant finding is that it may not actually be what you do that affects their child’s experience. Rather what appears to be important is how the child perceives the parents interaction, respect and value of the sports league.
When Involvement is Stressful for Youth in Sports
So how do you know if your level of support and involvement is optimal? Simple – ask your child. We suggest that you discuss with their child the ways in which they are involved, and ask their child how he or she wants them to be involved. They also recommend discussing with their child things that they might do involving their sports participation that could be perceived as stressful for their child. The best thing a parent can do for them is to really take to heart how they feel and offer their involvement at a level that their child is comfortable with.
These roles can include:
- Board Member Committee Member Coordinator
- Coach or Manager Official or Umpire fund-raising snack bar and many others.
- Often parents look at coaching their child as a burden – The most successful leagues educate the parents of the value and give them the tools and training to be successful – not just in terms of wins and losses, but in helping their team to learn the fundamentals, help the players have fun and want to come back and play next season.
Find New Volunteers for Your Youth Sports Program
Without volunteers the youth sports world would come to a screeching halt! That’s because the majority of youth sport programs in the United States rely on volunteers – usually parents – to serve as youth coaches, or to hold other roles, like volunteer administrators or officials. We know finding and keeping high-quality volunteers can be a big struggle, but there are some organizations using outside-the-box recruitment techniques to discover their volunteers that we’d like to share.
The success of many youth sports leagues is rooted in its volunteer coaches. But for some organizations, recruitment can be a seasonal and recurring challenge. If you’re new to the game or seeking inspiration, here are five fresh ideas for recruiting volunteer coaches to help your players reach their full potential:
Appeal to the League’s Parents
The majority of youth sports coaches are parents or caregivers. Yet, many leagues do not actively seek out parents to volunteer or they only offer one option: The head coach role, which typically is an option on the registration form. Incorporate all volunteer opportunities on registrations, websites, posters and emails, especially an option for an assistant coach. Emphasize the resources your league will offer to these volunteers Opens a new window (especially ones who have never coached before), such as coaching clinics, online videos and practice plans to make their job easier.
Consider Former Coaches
Many parents or caregivers coach only while their children are involved in the Y. These kids eventually outgrow the youth league, and the knowledge and dedication Opens a new window their moms and dads may have brought to coaching leave with them. Through your registration process, you should still have email addresses and phone numbers of these parents; don’t hesitate to get in touch with them and see if they are interested in returning. You may find some empty nesters who loved their time coaching and will jump at the chance to make an impact again.
Search For Alumni
Similarly, if your league has been established for many years, it will have many former players who fondly remember their time on the field, court or ice. These alums may not have kids of their own, but are willing to be a head or assistant coach.
Don’t Forget Grandparents
Parents might not have the time to coach, but grandparents may—particularly if they are recently retired or once coached long ago. This offers active grandparents a wonderful opportunity to spend time with their grand kids while allowing them to apply their experience and knowledge to a new generation of sports enthusiasts.
Spread the Word to Nearby Colleges
College campuses may provide a good pool of candidates that kids can relate to on a different level than they would with parent coaches. Check with local college teams, student union clubs and Greek life organizations. In many cases, college students are seeking volunteer opportunities for their resume or to enhance a career aspiration. Consider designating older students as assistant coaches if you don’t think they are ready for the entire responsibilities.