Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Control Your Conversation During the Game

   As discussed in this blog and elsewhere, some parents are too involved in their child's youth sports experience. At games they yell at the officials and call out to their son or daughter during the play. Most of us cringe a little when we're sitting near an overzealous parent.

But toward the other end of the spectrum is another type of spectator that can also test our patience. These are the parents and other individuals who constantly talk throughout the game.

Of course, sharing the game experience with others is a big part of what makes attending a game fun. But if you like to talk during the game, you need to pay some attention to when and how often you do so. Many parents attend these games to support and watch their child play. Other fans are there to enjoy the contest itself. Too much talking can distract and annoy these individuals—sometime to the point that they would just as soon see someone show-up to escort you away.

If you're more interested in socializing, try to locate a section in the stands where others share the same interest. Otherwise, try to keep your talking to stoppages in the game and quickly discontinue any conversations when the action resumes.

Also, be careful when making critical comments about a player, as the child’s parents may be sitting near you. I attended a local high school basketball game recently and heard one player’s father comment loudly after another player lost the ball out-of-bounds, “You’ve got to hold onto the ball!” Almost immediately, the player’s mother on the other side of me shouted, “Stop yelling at my boy!” to which the father responded “I yell at every player!”

Although I found this humorous, I don’t think the two parents did. It’s better not to talk critically about other players during the game. But if you must, speak quietly and make sure that the other parents aren’t sitting behind you!

Do you have any good spectator stories to tell?

Copyright © 2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads. All Rights Reserved

If you enjoyed this article, you may like my book:
The Joy of Youth Sports: Creating the best youth sports experience for your child (Amazon $8.95)

(Kindle Edition $2.99)

Copyright 2009-2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads; All Rights Reserved


Wendy LeBolt said...

Just ran into the parents of a former player of mine. the Mom mentioned that she no longer yells instructions to her daughter from the sidelines. She was cured of this, she said, some years back when I hosted the annual kids vs parents soccer game. Ever since she realized how hard it was to play (and how useless sideline instruction would be) she has been reformed. That old 'walk a mile in the other persons' cleats' is still a great approach.

David Raybould said...

Especially at a younger age, the only thing parents should be shouting from the sidelines is positive.

Parents should avoid coaching from the sidelines, no matter how constructive the criticism might be, the child may not take it this way and once you 'lose' a child in a game it's very hard to get them back. Leave the coaching to the coach who can address the problem off the field in a more constructive environment.

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