Three Ways Parents Can Be a Good Role Model for Children in Youth Sports

Youth Sports - A volunteer baseball coach gives the thumbs up to his player during a tball game at the YMCA in Chester County.

Kids learn “how to play the game” from their coaches and parents. Adults are important teachers and role models, and the atmosphere they create can determine a child’s sports experience, negative or positive. It’s critical for parents to nurture their child’s ambitions. Parents, especially, must continuously communicate with kids to assist them and support their passions.

Here are three ways to become a great role model for your child when he or she is playing sports.

  1. Introduce your children to a sport by playing with them.
    During preschool and elementary years, helping your kids develop basic skills such as running, jumping, kicking and throwing is important for their skill development.

    Sports activities should focus on cooperative games that provide children with an opportunity to explore their talents and develop a sense of success. The emphasis should be on fun, not competition. At this age, children are not yet prepared to understand winning and losing. Kids think losing says something negative about them personally. Putting youth at this age in highly competitive situations may be detrimental to their development. Provide encouragement and praise for effort, not for winning.
  2. Encourage them to try different sports.
    This enables kids to develop different skills and to search for a sport they really enjoy. You should discourage children from becoming too focused on any one sport and instead give them the chance to explore different options. Educate yourself about sports in which your child expresses an interest.
  3. Attend your child’s sporting events.
    Show your support without becoming addicted to the drama of your child’s participation. Remember that performance and the win/loss record should not become the focus.

Also, keep in mind that your attendance at every game is not essential to your child’s success. Make the ones you can and explain to your child the reasons why when you can’t. Focusing too much on your child’s sports schedule can send the message that they are playing the game for you and not for themselves. Avoid situations where the event of the game becomes more important than just watching your child play and have fun.

To learn more about youth sports at the YMCA, visit

Category: Sports