Whether you’re a mother of one or if you have an entire brood with you each time you head to a local sports game, being a good sports mom and enjoying it is possible with a bit of self-awareness and reflection. Having kids that play sports can actually be quite demanding on your time as well. Enjoying yourself while being a positive influence and a good role model as a sports mom can be done by understanding your child’s wants and needs when it comes to the sport and activity they are participating in themselves. So how do you strike that balance between too much involvement and not enough involvement?
Avoid Being The “Coach”
Being a good sports mom does not require you to become the coach. In fact, most of the time, your child doesn’t need another coach. He needs a believer and a fan. Yes, it may be hard to sit there while you watch your child hold his baseball mitt awkwardly and unathletically as the short stop tosses him the ball for a potentially really good play. Moms can unknowingly put pressure on an already stressed child if the parent approaches the child with a list of things to improve. It’s better to bite the tongue, lead with love, and offer helpful advice and tips only when your child asks for them.
The best trick I know to get involved in the right way is to create opportunities to be involved. Obviously go to all of their games (they notice your absence, and it’s hard on them). Try a fun game of catch in the backyard together without the pressure of traditional games, just because you want to spend time with him. Be there when he goes out with his soccer ball to practice.
Encourage Their Commitment
If your child is a bit older and a little more committed to their sport, consider investing a little more in providing opportunities for them to develop skills. Send her to a skills clinic. Build home sports equipment like a batting cage so that he can work on calibrating his swing. For extra points, let him and his dad build the batting cage together. If your husband doesn’t know what he’s doing, a good fence company would be able to walk him through the DIY (source: Elrod Fence Co.) Don’t forget to be there when he’s using it to take advantage of the opportunity to engage with and uplift him. You’ll find that the memories of late night conversations in the batting cage will create memories that you’ll both appreciate for years to come.
Praise Positive Traits and Behaviors
Rather than honing in on negative actions or traits while playing a sport, be sure to reinforce positive traits and behaviors your child exhibits at any time. Again, your child needs a believer and a fan more than anything else. That will be what matters in the long run in the mother-child relationship anyway, so invest in that.
Avoid Babying Your Child
It is also important to avoid babying your children when they become involved in sports. Running out to the field whenever your child is hurt, or giving them huge hugs after a big loss can actually make a child feel like mom doesn’t believe in him. Sometimes the best way to say “I believe in you” is to let them stand on their own. Babying your child can also open the door for them to walk away from their commitment to the sport.
Avoid Getting Involved With Gossip
Avoid getting involved with local neighborhood gossip with other sports moms to stay out of any potential drama. That makes the experience go sour real quick. It is also important to avoid gossiping about coaches and others working with your children on the field each day to avoid embarrassment for your kids themselves. Your kids sports will be much more enjoyable and fun when you have positive relationships with the coaches and other parents involved because you will feel like you are participating in a close community.
Knowing how to be a good sports mom is a way for you to ensure you are not only just enjoying yourself, but that your child or children are enjoying themselves as well. The more proactive you become with positive reinforcement and boundaries when helping your child with a sport, the less likely you are to encounter conflict within your relationship with one another.