10 Commandments of Sports for Parents

1. Make sure that your child knows that win or lose, scared or heroic, you love him/her, appreciate their efforts, and are not disappointed in them. 

2. Try your best to be completely honest about your child’s athletic capability, their competitive attitude, their sportsmanship and their actual skill level. 

3. Be helpful, but don’t coach them on the way to the court, or on the way back, or at breakfast. 

4. Teach them to enjoy the thrill of competition. Don’t say, “Winning doesn’t count,” because it does. 

5. And hear this, parents: Try not to relive your athletic life through your child in a way that creates pressure. Don’t pressure them because of your pride. 

6. Don’t compete with the coach. Remember, in many cases the coach becomes a hero to their athletes, a person who can do no wrong. 

7. Don’t compare the skill, courage or attitude of your child with those of other members of the squad or team . . . or at least not to their hearing. 

8. You should also get to know the coach so that you can be sure that their philosophy, attitudes, ethics, and knowledge are such that you are happy to expose your child to them. 

9. Always remember that children tend to exaggerate, both when praised and when criticized. Temper your reactions when they bring home tales of woe or heroics. 

10. Make a point of understanding courage and the fact that it is relative. Some of us climb mountains but fear a fight; some of us fight but turn to jelly if a bee buzzes nearby. A child must know: Courage is not absence of fear, but rather doing something in spite of fear. 

And recently, I’ve added an 11th commandment:

11. Don’t have us (the coaches) thinking about you while we are coaching your child.

— Coach Morgan Wootten