Buzby: What kind of youth sports parent are you?

jonbuzby@hotmail.comMay 4, 2014 

At the halfway point of the spring sports season, you probably have figured out the parents on your team.

Generally there are three types of parents involved in youth sports.

The first is the "Little League" parent who thinks his kid is the best and the team should win at any cost regardless of how it makes his own teammates or the other team's players feel. This person often leaves no doubt how he feels and is the one who gives youth sports parents an undeserved bad name.

The second parent type could care less about sports and how successful or not his child is. He will often drop the child off to practice and pick him up when it is over. He is a very devoted parent, just not interested in sports.

The third type of parent understands, accepts, and emphasizes the true value of youth sports to be fun and learning, not winning. He or she is always willing to help in any way, and eager to be a supporter of any kids playing youth sports.

Which type of parent are you?

Hopefully you are either parent No. 2 or 3. I, like most youth sports coaches, have no tolerance for parent No. 1. Those parents usually bounce from league to league complaining that the league before was no good (as those in that league eagerly waved them out the door).

Parent No. 2 is acceptable. Not ideal, but better to be uninvolved in the team instead of overly involved for the wrong reasons like parent No. 1. Parents like this usually cheer at the games and keep their negative opinions to themselves. But they also might not be eager to volunteer with other team-related duties like covering the concession stand or organizing the team snack.

The third type of parent will offer his help in any way you need it. It might be bringing snacks, making phone calls, organizing the team picnic, or helping at practice. This parent understands his role and is helping within his limitations without overstepping the youth sports parental boundaries.

Parents deserve credit just for giving their child an opportunity to play sports. Unfortunately, some parents think because they paid the registration fee they are free to say and act in any manner. No matter what type of youth sports parent you are, it's important to understand your role and how you can best fit into the team to make it a great experience for everyone involved.

It's because of the parents that kids get to participate and for that reason it's important to make sure you have a great experience.

Have you let your child's coach know you are willing to help where needed? That's the first step to becoming parent No. 3.

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