• Rentfrow-Perspective

Five Negative Behaviors Killing Youth Sports

In youth sports today, parents are making games less fun for their kids. Politicking, blaming others, berating umps, making excuses, and coaching from the stands are all negative behaviors that parents are partaking in. This article discusses those behaviors.


Many sports parents are resorting to politicking to get their kids more playing time. They are constantly jockeying for position and attempting to get in the coach’s ear to influence the decision-making process. I have seen parents do this for a variety reasons, but the two major one’s are jealousy of other players athletic ability and/or because of flaws in their own kid’s skills. The quality coaches ignore this behavior, because in the end, good coaches play players based on ability, not the actions or comments of parents.

The Blamer

The parent that always blames others for mistakes and errors. This type of parent tends to deflect attention from their athlete’s faults onto other players. This type of person will divide a team. Think about this, if a dad/mom is talking negatively about another kid, rest assured they are talking negatively about yours! If you are a parent partaking in this behavior, please stop! The best thing for parents and coaches to do is to turn negative comments into positive ones.

Ump Yeller

Unfortunately, everyone knows an ump yeller. There is currently a shortage of umpires and referees because of this epidemic. Can umpires and referees sometimes do a poor job? Absolutely. Can we all do poorly at our jobs on any given day? Without a doubt. This does two things for athletes:

1. It gives them an excuse and a crutch, when the game is rarely decided on one or two plays.

2. Blaming and yelling at umps show that mistakes are not okay, even mistakes by the athletes like errors, turnovers, strikeouts, and more that happen to players throughout the course of a game.

The Excuse Maker

Some parents will make a variety of excuses for their kids. His/her kid makes mistakes and excuses are given like lack of sleep, not eating properly, playing too many video games, and many other reasons for poor performance. What this behavior perpetuates is a lack of personal responsibility. This will ultimately translate into poor work habits as adults. The way to fix this is for athletes to take control of their own destiny and be proactive about their diet, sleep habits, external practice time, mentality, etc. Also, being reactive when mistakes are made. Finally, just realizing that some athletes are going to have bad days from time-to-time and move on.

The Coach in The Stand

Coaching from the stands is the last behavior that can negatively impact a team. When parents coach from the stands it sends mixed signals to players. Additionally, you are stepping on the toes of the one you entrusted your son/daughter with, the coach. Players already have a lot of pressure on them and I don’t think there is one player that has ever said “My dad yelling at me from the stands really helped us win that game!” Our job as parents is to be positive and cheer the players on. Yelling out directions is really distracting and annoying to most coaches/parents.

These behaviors and types of parents are making the game less fun for all of us. If you are one of these parents, please stop. Just let the kids play and the coaches do their job. Most importantly sit back and enjoy the game!


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