Never let your child hear your voice when they are playing organized team sports. Never.
Okay, I know this one is going to get me in some trouble with some parents. Please let me elaborate.
I have been in organized sports for most of the past 40 years. As a player, coach, referee, fan, and most recently, parent, I have developed a pretty good sense of the games and the people who play and watch them. The stress that pervades throughout the ballfields and courts of America is getting worse not better. The level of importance we parents are placing on every at bat, every free throw, and every tackle is going beyond the pale. Parents are yelling more because they are vicariously living and dying with every play.
You may say, “I’m only yelling positive things.” Yes, but when your child hears your voice, they focus on it. They are reminded that you are there watching their every move, counting on them, ready to clap for them. You may think this is good. It isn’t. They need to concentrate on the game. If they are thinking about you and what you are yelling, what you are thinking, are you proud of them… they cannot concentrate. You want them to forget that you’re there. Let them hear the other parents. The din of the crowd, the cheers, laughter, clapping. Mostly, let them hear their coaches, because it is their advice that counts – not yours.
This is a tough one, I realize. Many parents just want to cheer on their kids. You can do that without getting up in their heads. Clap when they make a good play, cheer along with the rest of the crowd when they hit that home run, etc. Just stop with the instructions and little tips. Stop with the “Let’s go Jason…!” Little Jason doesn’t want your advice right now. He needs to get his head in the game.