Parents are Too Involved

December 4, 2007
By Elizabeth Shelton, Hays, KS

High school athletics are for the kids, not the parents. The kids are the ones working as hard as they want to playing as hard as they want to. Parents should push their kids to work hard, but not force their kids to play. Athletes’ parents can get too involved in their child’s athletics and can ruin the fun.
High school parents are too involved in kid’s decisions of whether they want to play a certain sport or not. By the time kids are in high school, they are mature enough to decide if they want to partake in an activity or not. Sports seasons can be extremely long if the player dreads going to practice or playing every day. Some parents want their kids to play only because they never got the chance to play themselves. IF as kids, parents were not talented in athletics, they may push their kids too hard to play. They are trying to fulfill their dreams of sports through their children. As for the kids, if they don’t want to be there, they will have poor attitudes toward practices and games, and poor attitudes are contagious. Everyone will notice if there is a player there that doesn’t want to be there. That type of poor attitude can bring the entire team down. As teammates, players don’t want to be around others who have no desire to be there. Coaches would rather have a low number of players go out for a sport with a desire to play than a high number of kids that were forced to play. Sports should not be and are not mandatory; therefore, no child should be forced to play by anyone.

Parents get too wrapped up in whether their kid’s team is winning or losing. If the team is not winning, then parents start to talk to their kids at home about coaches and other players. The kids then take what their parents said and talk to other players on the team, causing teams to become divided and not play well together. The volleyball team experienced that this season when the team wasn’t winning. Parents blamed certain kids; others blamed coaches and officials, which caused players to talk to one another about other players, and the team was demolished. The team lost three players and a coach in this hard time due to lack of team camaraderie. This does not mean parents shouldn’t come to the games and support the players, but they must be careful not to cheer solely for their own child. Also, parents must not yell discouraging comments when a mistake is made; only encouraging words should be used because they are there to support the team.

Kids play sports because of their love for the game, not because anyone forces them to play. The main reason for playing is for the love of it. Players should love practice, playing, and everything about the game. If they don’t have that, then it could make for a very long season. Going to practice every day can be a huge stress reliever, and this can be an awesome way to get all of your anger out from the day. Being part of a team can be very good for building character and can help with life skills.

I understand that parents may have extreme emotions, but they need to just let go sometimes. They may think that by forcing their child to play a sport, it is making their child better person, but in fact it is only making the child bitter towards sports. Parents may also think that yelling in the stands at the officials is helping the kids. But, this may cause the kids to blame the game outcome on the officials instead of on themselves. The parents may also believe that, if the team isn’t winning, then talking to others about what they think the problem is will help. By talking to others, they only make the situation worse; this is how teams get torn apart.

High school students are old enough to make decisions about sports on their own, and parents need to just let the players play the games. They need to let their kids make their own decisions whether to play or not. Parents must also remember, while at the game they must be supportive to all the players and their school. If parents believe it is a coach’s or player’s fault for a loss or a bad season, they must be respectful and keep their opinions to themselves. Everyone also must remember that it is only high school sports, and these are only games that will soon be forgotten.

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