20 Ways To Be A Supportive Sports Parent

    Do your children play sports? With options like basketball, volleyball, football, baseball, softball, soccer, and so many other athletic options, you could find yourself deep in the world of sports parenting in no time flat. Being a sports parent isn’t always easy!

    You are dealing with not just your child participating but the other parents, coaches, administrators, and the rest of the individuals that make the team go round as well! So how can you be a supportive sports parent and one that makes the event a fun one for your child?

    Luckily, there are plenty of ways. Look below at 20 ways to be a supportive sports parent so you can be sure your child has a fun, educational, and active sports season you all can be proud of.

1. Treat practice like a day at school. When your child returns be sure to ask how practice went and ask what new skills they may have learned.

2. Talk to your child about their strengths. Point out their strengths first so they can develop pride for them.

3. Be careful with criticism. Gage if your child is receptive to constructive criticism before mentioning skills you feel they could work on.

4. Use positive words. When you cheer on your child use positive words that encourage them. Avoid words that put them down or negatively challenge them.

5. Cheer on their peers. Don’t just cheer for your own child. Be supportive of their peers using the same positive language. You will find that this may encourage other parents to follow along too.

6. Be respectful of the coaches. Allow them to do their job and coach. Any issues you have with the coach should be taken up with them privately without children present.

7. Encourage your child to respect the coach. In the same manner, they should take up any issues they have with the coach in a private meeting with a parent present.

8. Ask your child how you can best support them. You might be surprised at their suggestions plus this opens the chance for a positive conversation.

9. Praise losses along with wins. Use losses as a chance to talk about how to better themselves and prepare for the next event.

10. Teach your child to be responsible for their gear. This will help them grow into responsible adults. Don’t haul all of their gear for them but teach them how to take care of it so it lasts them all season.

11. Take those pictures. These moments happen quickly and by taking pictures it shows your child this is a memory you wish to remember.

12. Be present at their events. Put your cell phone and electronics away so your child sees they have your full attention.

13. Don’t bribe kids to win. Don’t promise them items if they win their event. As the saying goes, winning isn’t everything and even in losing children can learn so much.

14. Let children choose their sporting activities freely. Don’t force children to participate in sports they don’t have enthusiasm for.

15. Never engage in arguments with other parents. If other parents are being disrespectful towards the team or coach a complaint should be filed with the referees or athletic association.

16. Tell your child how much you love to watch them play. These simple words can mean so much and reinforces the idea that win or lose, they have your pride and love.

17. Don’t punish children for losing, making mistakes, or not performing the best they can. Allow coaches to address these issues.

18. Even if you are not athletic, practice with your child at home. They will enjoy sharing this time with you and enjoy the extra practice.

19. Learn what you can about the sport. This can help open conversations between you and your child and shows that you are interested in what they are doing.

20. Invite family and friends to watch them play. Most children will enjoy the extra support. Always ask your child first if it is ok to invite others to their event, and if so, go for it!

    As you can see, being as supportive sports parent doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are plenty of ways to cheer on your child and make sure you create memories instead of stress. Give these a try and see what a difference they can make for your child’s season.

© 2017 – 2023, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Yes! I especially agree about cheering on their peers. Some parents don’t cheer out loud, so not all kids get cheers. Be that mom that cheers for them all!

  2. These are great things to remember as a parent. Even though my son isn’t in an organized sport, I try so hard not to criticize him and to remain positive even when he’s getting discouraged learning new skills.

  3. There are so many parents I see that don’t follow #6 – be respectful to the coaches. I myself would coach, but after seeing how parents act, I’d probably be arrested for fighting back!

  4. I agree with everything especially with Number 9! It’s always good to ensure the wellness of your kid’s self-esteem especially during times of defeat. Great read! 🙂

  5. Mine aren’t in sports yet, but my oldest will probably be starting dance or gymnastics in August. I remember my mom was an awesome sports mom. I did swim for almost 10 years and it was such an awesome experience.

  6. It’s funny because watching my kids play sports is so stressful for me! I think we might put too much pressure on them sometimes. Which I hate. Sports, to me, are there for kids to have fun and be active. I loved this article!

  7. Great list of things for all extra curricular activities. Number 6 is one I wish we could post on every parents forehead. I’ve seen some pretty bad displays of public humiliation to coaches and instructors. Thanks for sharing!

  8. These are really great tips. I find that these days parents can be so hard on kids when it comes to sports its nice to have balance.

  9. These are all great tips. My kids just had their dance recital and I loved how supportive all the parents were. Cheering on your kids peers is not only nice it teaches them how to be good sports.

  10. These are great. Our older two are in scouts, so no sports here yet but I see it in the future.

  11. Love this post. It should be a part of every parents handouts when they sign up for sports. I love the respect the coach one and the one about talking about losses. We used to always ask our daughter, what would you do differently to win this game? It was good to hear her analyze what happened.

  12. Chanel van Reenen says

    I absolutely love all these tips. My son is starting to be at the age where he will be playing sports and it really does scare me because I’m worried about his self esteem! Thank you for sharing!

  13. I love all of these! Especially #5… Cheer on their peers! that is a really fantastic one I never would have ever thought about.

  14. Kristina says

    This is so great! I love seeing my kids play sports and I look forward to it even more as they get older. They definitely need our love and support.

  15. We spend so much time teaching kids how to be respectful, but it is so important that adults get reminders, too! This is perfect.

  16. So many of these supportive tips are truly on point with good sportsmanship. As a sports player growing up, these tips are important for everyone to remember!

  17. I think the biggest one has to be being there to support, even if it’s bad weather being there cheering on your kid is great encouragement.

  18. I agree we shouldn’t punish our children for losing. That is not going to make anything better.

  19. You make some good points here about kids and their sports.
    I do like the idea of keeping negativity and over-competitiveness out of the child’s perspective as he or she grows up in playing sports.

  20. This is such a helpful list. Every sport’s parent needs to read this. I’ve seen so many parents behaving badly at games and I don’t think they realize how it affects their kids.

  21. Good suggestions. Yes, sports are just to build a healthy relationship with others. We should never criticize other kids.

  22. I agree with all of the above, especially not bribing kids to win! It sets them up to feel like winning is the most important thing, when really it is all about the fun and teamwork.

  23. Oh man, number six is spot on! When I was in sports, I remember the parents and getting angry at the coaches! So many great tips!

  24. I love this, it’s a good reminder for parents who have kids that are doing extracurricular activities after school. I think it’s good to be supportive and being positive all the time is something that we should practice so we won’t kill their spirit.

  25. Elizabeth O. says

    It’s important that we watch our words when it comes to commenting or talking about their sport and their performance in the game. Kids will take it to heart and you don’t want them feeling crushed and unmotivated to continue.

  26. These are great tips. It’s nice to be supportive the best way possible. We can always keep an open communication with them, but it’s also very important to remain positive.

  27. I really am fond of these tips! I feel like I see so many parents doing the complete opposite and it saddens me when we are out on the fields!

  28. Yes it is very important to praise the losses as well. Although we can get a little competitive the child should still receive support through the good and bad games.

  29. These are really great tips to all parents. Some of parents will really need this to know how to support their kids.

  30. Wow love all the tips! I will keep this in my mind and be the best supportive parent for my kids.

  31. I love this. It’s all about being supportive–win or lose! And having fun, of course! Great suggestions.

  32. This is a great conversation! My eight year old daughter is on a competitive rock climbing that takes up a lot of time with two three hour practices weekly plus personal climb time. It feels like a lot but she loves it!

  33. These are great suggestions. I would love to implement some of these ideas. Let’s see how it goes.

  34. These are great ways to support children’s sport events. I don’t have kids but I do have nephews and nieces. My 11 year old nephew plays soccer and we always encourage him to do his best and we take pictures and just show our support.

  35. This would be really helpful tips especially when my baby boy start getting interests at sports. Thanks for sharing this.

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