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Basic Rules for Parents at Youth Sports Games

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

Youth Sporting Events are not the Olympics...

In the past few years of attending my granddaughter's sporting events, I've taken notice of a few do's and don'ts that parents and grandparents will find helpful.

I'm a spectator who tends to multi-tasks. Which means I can fully focus on the game and also pay attention to what's going on around me while taking mental notes.

The mental notes that I have accumulated over time are now being put to use to guide you with some basic rules.

Please do not take offense to my list of do's and don'ts unless you might possibly be guilty as charged. Then hopefully you will learn a lesson as to what the basic rules should be, based on my opinion.

Do's and Don'ts of Youth Sports Games for Parents

These do's and don'ts apply to a minor amount of team supporters. The majority of parents deserve a huge kudos for taking the time to have their children participate in youth sports. Kids aren't as active as they were years ago. With tech gadgets that occupy their time while sitting down they aren't getting outdoors as much as they should.

While outdoors they are riding on motorized scooters, bikes or go-karts and they are not getting the cardio workout they should. What happened to the old fashioned way of pedaling a bike or using their feet to maneuver their scooters of skateboards? It's a shame. Kids are being allowed to be lazy.

Participating in an athletic sport teaches the kids that being active is good for their health. Being lazy is not beneficial. Being a member of a team teaches a child they could overcome fears and gain drive, determination and motivation. It's all about the "team." Teamwork.

Now it's up to the parents to follow some basic rules and set a good example.

Go Team!

Parental Rules for Youth Sports Games

Parental Rules for Youth Sports Games

Parents Guide to Raising Athletes

Things parents shouldn't do at their kids sports game...

  • Do not bring your kids late to the game. There is a certain time scheduled per team. Try your best to stick to the schedule, no one likes to have to forfeit a game due to a member shortage.
  • Be sure and feed your child at least an hour before the game. If they eat too soon before the game, their breakfast or lunch might be ejected forward and create a mess.
  • Make sure the kids take a tinkle before they join the team. The only dribbling on the court should be from the ball. It's quite funny to watch the kids squeezing their legs closed as they attempt to make a shot, but why risk an accident?
  • Your schedule is tight. You have a to-do list a mile long...but, they need their practice. Its their time to learn. Try your best to bring them to practice.
  • I don't have to remind you how essential drinking water is during their breaks. Not soft drinks. Not sugary drinks. Water is best. Be sure and bring a bottle or two, to practice and the game.
  • In the beginning of the season the Team Mom should distribute a list with the date that you should bring the snacks. Try your best not to forget the snacks. If you aren't going to be able to attend that specific game, place someone else in charge of bringing the food and drink. The kids always look forward to their chill time after the game, with their team mates, while enjoying their treats. The choice of food is up to you. Be creative.
  • Team jerseys should be odor, stain and wrinkle free. Your child is representing their team. Just before the game you realize you forgot the jersey in the car trunk all just a few minutes you could blot out a stain and toss it in the dryer with a fabric softener, for a couple of minutes. Preferably a fragrance free fabric softener...can't imagine your youngen running around smelling like Spring Breeze.
  • If your daughter has long hair be considerate and place her hair in a ponytail. Not pig tails, I've witnessed other kids get smacked in the face with pig tails swinging around the field or court.
  • If your superstar player has younger siblings do not allow them to run around the game area. I've seen tiny toddlers get flattened during games and even though they weren't injured their screams could be heard around the field.

Cheer On Your Child's Team...

Basic Rules for Youth Sports Games

Basic Rules for Youth Sports Games

More Basic Rules for Parents During Youth Sports Games

  • Spectators shouldn't gossip. You never know who is seated around you. Even if your gossip is harmless, some one could misinterpret what you said and your words could hurt some one's feelings. Parents should not say something inappropiate or rude about a player on the team. Remember, you are at your child's game and the last thing you need is a to find yourself in time out or possibly blocked.
  • Do cheer on the opposing team. Remember, these are children at play. Your cheers will show not only show your children, but the other teams parents and players that you all are in this game together.
  • Don't yell at your kid during the game if they temporarily zone out. It happens. They are kids. I've seen kids zone out for a few minutes and you would think the parents were about to slam dunk them. Your child will snap out of it and rejoin the game.
  • Do not yell at other parents. If some one is blocking your view, kindly let them know. Chances are they are in their zone and don't realize it. Don't yell at another parent because their kid didn't make the shot. Seriously? This is a youth game, not the Olympics!
  • Remember to double knot their shoes. It's unbelievable how many times I saw kid's shoelaces become untied during a game. They are already in the process of losing their baby teeth, they don't need to be falling flat on their face and losing them during a game with their peers.
  • Do not spend the short time at a game on your mobile device. Put your phone away and concentrate on the cheering on your child and their team mates. You could very possibly miss the play of the game because you were playing Candy Crush. Show your support and CHEER.
  • Do not question the coaches instructions or actions. He's taking the time to coach your kid's team because he knows how the game should be played. He's a volunteer. He receives no compensation for teaching your child the rules and regulations of the sport. He should be applauded for the time that he spends training your child to be part of a team. Now, you could suggest to the coach that he chills out a bit if you feel he's being too tough on a child. I have never witnessed this, but any thing is possible. Always remember to thank your coach.
  • Do give the kids some slack if they seem tired. Between school, homework and lack of sleep they might not be up to par during a practice or game. That's OK. Now on the flip side if they are just not in the mood, remind them what teamwork is all about. Being there for your team, even if you aren't in the mood.
  • Practice makes perfect. When time allows for you practice your child's sport with them in between seasons or during the season. Make it a family outing. During this time remind your child that it's not OK to hog a ball during a game. Team members share the ball and are not playing the game solo. Without team mates there would be no team. Sharing is caring.
  • Give your children compliments, a high five, a fist bump, a hug...share with them why you are so proud of them and how impressed you are with their sportsmanship. Children need encouragement, adults do also. Who doesn't like to be recognized when they accomplish something that's important to them? Go ahead and spread the love and watch your child shine! Go Team!

Teamwork Involves the Entire Team

Rules for Parents at Their Child's Sports Games

Rules for Parents at Their Child's Sports Games

Youth Sports - Girls 2nd and 3rd Grade Basketball Team

© 2014 Linda Bilyeu

What did I forget to mention? Please share below...

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 18, 2014:

I was a volunteer volleyball coach for three years and was blessed to have a great group of parents. They were supportive and were constantly helping in any way they could. I wish I could say the same thing about some of the other parents in the league. I specifically remember one parent telling his child to tell my girls to shut up and he laughed whenever a bad play was made. It had me fuming!

Joe from north miami FL on June 12, 2014:

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It would be very embarrassing to be the parent who swings at a kindergarteners soccer game. Very true hub, hope some parents can keep there cool.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on June 11, 2014:

Some of the things these parents do are just incredible. Putting such pressure on their children to perform is one more stressor they don't need. You seem to have identified a lot of things that need to be said. Nicely done.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 11, 2014:

I wish I had a dime for every game I've sat through on those hard bleachers cheering on my four girls. I had three that played basketball and one who was a cheerleader all through school!

I kinda miss those good ole' times!

Great Hub with some good advice for parents!

Voted UP and shared.

Mary Craig from New York on June 09, 2014:

Four children and seven grandchildren have taken me to just about every sport. When my children played there were no cell phones, thank God. There was general gossip but a lifted eyebrow stopped it mid-syllable .

Great tips Linda! Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on June 06, 2014:

Your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Basketball season is coming up again and I hope parents learned a thing or two from these and your tips.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on March 18, 2014:

Excellent suggestions and do's and don't's for parents of athletic children. I couldn't agree more with your list. So many parents ruin the sport for their children when the parent acts immature. It is a growing and learning experience for the kids who have a coach and the parents need to stop directing during the game. This list is only common sense and sadly some parents have none. Parents need to make these games a positive experience for their children.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on March 14, 2014:

This is a much needed topic. I've been to my niece's peewee games where some parents get really mad, yelling at the refs and kids . . . . It's awful. Every parent should read this! Well said!

RTalloni on March 13, 2014:

Good stuff here! Yay for this practical and smart look at rules for parents/grandparents who have children in youth sports activities!

You offer some seriously important tips for grownups to think through so they can maintain a right image of what being a grownup is supposed to look like. The attitudes and behaviors of some so-called grownups at games is appalling. (It might be a good idea to put this in small poster form and market it to coaches to post on bulletin boards and use as hand outs.) Pinning to my Solve It: Community board.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 10, 2014:

Comprehensive and complete! You didn't leave out anything. I personally am glad not to have to do this anymore, but I'll bet this will be helpful!

Claudia Mitchell on March 10, 2014:

So true Sunshine! I'm continually amazed at some of the behavior at my daughter's games and high school games we attend. I'm always surprised at some of the language the parents use. I mean many of us use it from time to time, but not in front of a group of kids.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 10, 2014:

It is a shame these friendly reminders must be given to parents that should know better. There is definitely a need for this hub. Some parents take a fun event and turn it into a major competition. In general, parents need to calm down at these things. Voted up!

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on March 09, 2014:

These are excellent rules, Linda, and I hope any parents or grandparents reading this hub take them to heart. Youth sports are meant not only for fun and teaching a child how to play the sport well, but to teach teamwork and good sportsmanship. How can kids learn to be good winners AND good losers if Mom or Dad is yelling and throwing a tantrum in the bleachers? I think it's especially terrible when a parent's behavior harms a child's self-esteem.

Voted Up++


Tim Mitchell from Escondido, CA on March 09, 2014:

Hello sunshine. Thanks for the video! That brought a smile for sure. I like how you laced zone out, basketball jargon, into the work. Nice! I can appreciate all you shared while notating it is for the children. Though some perceive only a game, it helps forming their futures and how to deal with life. Well done . . .


Pete Fanning from Virginia on March 09, 2014:

Great Advice Sunshine, I may have a few of these youth games in my future! Voted up and awesome!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 28, 2014:

Thank you b. Malin and Deb. Youth sports should be more about fun and less about competitive parents.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 28, 2014:

I don't have kids but have heard some horror stories from my friends who are parents about the bad behavior demonstrated by other parents at games. Great role models they are not! I like how you included the little clip from Faith's basketball game. Very cute.

b. Malin on February 25, 2014:

Hi Sunshine, Wonderful Hub...even though my boys are grown men now, we as parents made certain mistakes at their games...I found your Hub to be very Enlightening especially for today's families.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 22, 2014:

Thank you Michelle!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on February 22, 2014:

Great tips to encourage the kids to be healthy and active, Linda!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 15, 2014:

Thanks LadyE. I appreciate your support.

Elena from London, UK on February 11, 2014:

Extremely useful, even for people who are not parents. I particularly like the tips on when to feed kids before a game. Thanks.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 08, 2014:

Thanks DDE!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 07, 2014:

Basic Rules for Parents at Youth Sports Games sounds great advise and you presented a helpful photo

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 05, 2014:

Thank you for sharing Flourish! That mother has some serious issues that she needs to work out. Parents need to remember that it's NOT their game, it's their childs game. They need to sit down and chill out.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 05, 2014:

Parents can get very carried away. I usually sit away from the rest of them because I don't like hearing all of the intense talk. One of the girls on my daughter's middle school soccer team was knocked out cold on the field last season and her competitive mother screamed for her to get up. The poor child showed signs of a concussion and she argued with officials to put the kid back in the game. This hub should be send to all parents pre-season to keep bad behavior at bay.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

Well said Martie! I couldn't agree more. Thank you for adding your tidbit of advice.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

Dianna, I was smiling while writing that part...I understand. I just don't want to be on the receiving end of pig tails :)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

TT...Amen to that!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

Excellent addition WillStar. There are parents who try to live their youth through their kids and that's just unfair to them. They should do as they please with proper guidance.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

breakfastpop, I also move away at times. I am not a fan of someone yelling in my ear!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

High five to you Vellur! :)

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 03, 2014:

I agree ologsinquito. We are never too old to learn.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on February 03, 2014:

Profound advice to be taken to heart by all parents. Youth Sport is part of a child's education, nothing more, nothing less. Interesting how the behavior of parents exposes their parental qualities and general attitude. We tend to like or dislike a child through their parent(s) even before the child begins to behave in accordance with their parent's behavior.

Dianna Mendez on February 03, 2014:

Linda, don't ask me why, but the remark about pigtails swinging and hitting people is funny. Ouch! As a former sports mom, your tips are right on and should be followed. Sharing so others can learn from your professional experience.

Sondra Rochelle from USA on February 03, 2014:

It's always a good idea to remember that the athletes are still just kids.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 03, 2014:

Parents often make utter fools of themselves at their children's games, and I've seen some very hurt feelings. The very worst is the child who is forced to take part in a sport and then screamed at by his own parent for making a mistake.

breakfastpop on February 03, 2014:

This article should be mandatory reading for all parents. When my girls played softball, I found the parents behavior so awful I had to sit away from them by myself! Up and useful!

sujaya venkatesh on February 03, 2014:

every parent should read sun

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 03, 2014:

Great tips for parents at youth sports games. Encouraging children is the way to go, a high five is definitely a must. Great hub.

ologsinquito from USA on February 03, 2014:

I really like the rules for spectators. Some parents get a little carried away at these games.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 02, 2014:

Nell, You obviously have been there and done that! Faith has played soccer, t-ball and basketball many times and there are always some parents who do not follow the rules. Luckily it's just some, not most parents.

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 02, 2014:

Paula, The dads give me a headache! There is absolutely no need to YELL at the kids and tell them how to make a play when the coach is already telling them. Let the coach do their job or become a coach yourself. Thanks for sharing!

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 02, 2014:

Very true MM. The little ones learn from the big ones. We need to set a good example. Be the best we can be. Thank you!

Nell Rose from England on February 02, 2014:

Great advice Linda, I remember it well when my son was at school or after school games, some of the parents drove me insane! they would yell, stand up in front of the players and get in the way and so on, I would feel like grabbing them and telling them to shut up! then of course it was the food, giving the kids fizzy drinks and sweets in between games! I used to love it though, yelling.. go Dan, go Dan! LOL! voted up and shared, nell

Suzie from Carson City on February 02, 2014:

This really brought back years of memories.....lots of sporting events, practice, parents & kids. Yes, GF, I've seen it all and then some. Obviously, based on this excellent have too!

This is one of those MUST reads! Parents (especially "Dads") can get so carried away.....You know the poor kid is cringing....

Yay TEAM! I'd say I miss all this....but I don't!! LOL :)

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on February 02, 2014:

Excellent tips, dear Sunshine!

Childhood habits pave the way for adult tendencies...these are lessons for all ages.

Voted UP and UAI. Love, MM

Linda Bilyeu (author) from Orlando, FL on February 02, 2014:

I'm sure you could relate Bill. I hope my suggestions benefit others parents and maybe some coaches. Go Team!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 02, 2014:

It's nice to see an article on this topic. I have coached for probably twenty-five years and I have seen thousands of parents who needed this article. Great suggestions, Linda.

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