The PCA Blog

PCA Voices

8 Things Sports Parents Should Know

by Kyle McBrain


These thoughts are my own...

During my coaching career, I have had positive relationships with nearly all of my athletes’ parents. The majority of them are so helpful, kind, and supportive of the team and coaches. This post is not meant to give the idea that coaches are perfect. Believe me; I have made more mistakes than I can count.

This is for the 5% of parents that cause 95% of the issues...

1. We do play favorites (No, we don't care what your last name is)

That’s right. We do. My personal favorites are the players that have a great work ethic, are intelligent players, will do whatever it takes to help the team, and of course display athleticism and talent.

2. Yelling tips and instructions to your child from the stands does not help at all

I know we think if we give our child that one last tip before he goes up to bat, he will surely get that big hit. Unfortunately, this only causes the player to think about something other than the task at hand. This is more detrimental than anything else.

3. Lack of playing time does not mean that the coach does not like your kid

Some of my fondest memories of coaching come from players that didn’t start for me. Please realize that most coaches love all of their players. Unfortunately, in life, some people are better at certain things. This does not mean that your child is a failure. It definitely does not mean that coach loves your child less than the starters.

4. At times, less is more

In this age of select teams and travel ball burnout has become an issue. The children play way too many games throughout their youth. By the time they get to junior high or high school, they are burned out and do not enjoy the sport.

5. Focusing on one sport does not help your child earn scholarships

Let’s be honest. The chances of getting a college scholarship are slim. Not impossible, but also not likely for the majority of high school athletes. 
This is the most common excuse when deciding not to play a sport. “I’m going to focus on _____________”. Whatever sport your child is quitting will actually help them to become a better all-around athlete. The majority of professional and college athletes were multi-sport athletes in high school. They played more than one sport, and look where it got them.

6. Stop living through your child, and let them enjoy their own experiences

Everyone wants their child to be successful. However, living vicariously through your child can make his or her experience with sports very uncomfortable for everyone. Here are some signs that you are living through your child:

1) If you care more about your child’s statistics or playing time than if the team won or lost.

2) If you treat your child differently after a win or a loss.

3) If you constantly feel the need to undermine a coach because your child is not playing as much as you would like.

7. It is ok that your child has failures

Failure and dealing with failure are HUGE lessons to learn in life. If you give your child the proper tools to deal with failure in sports, this will greatly benefit him or her in the future. Making excuses or always blaming the coach for your child’s failures is merely setting them up for problems down the road. Everything that goes wrong or doesn’t work out will be somebody else’s fault.

8. Our family members are in the stands while you are bashing "the coach"

This one may bother me most of all. As a three-sport coach, I spend a lot of time away from my amazing wife and daughter. WE have made a sacrifice so that I can pursue my coaching career. That means that my time away from my family is devoted to working with your children to help them become better athletes and most of all better people. The least you can do is know who is around you while you are making these comments.

Join PCA

See More Resources For Parents

See Resources

Kyle is an experienced high school baseball and girls basketball coach. He has 8 years experience coaching baseball and 7 years experience coaching girls basketball at Staunton High School (Staunton, IL). Kyle played two years of baseball at Lewis & Clark Community College and two years at Millikin University.

Stay connected