Guide to Making This Your Best Season Yet!


Parents play an extremely important role in the enjoyment and the outcome in athletes’ sports experience. We have seen athletes that lost college playing opportunities due to their parents being overbearing. On the other side of things, we have also seen parents that have helped their children to overcome some of the more challenging obstacles in sports. Here are the dos and don’ts for creating a positive experience for your player.

Have you ever found yourself walking the thin-line between encouraging your kids or interfering with your kids development in athletics? If handled correctly with both the athlete and parents working together, the athletic experience can be extremely positive. Everyone in the process must always remember that the kids’ needs come first.  

There are many kids (95%) that choose to play sports because they truly enjoy it. They have fun while playing and have learned to love the game. While this is the case, it has also be found that by the age of 12, 70% of all young athletes stop. They stop practicing, stop playing, and stop putting forth the effort takes to take them to higher levels. As parents, it is not just your job to try and keep you children playing the sports they love, but showing them how much of an impact sports can have in their lives.

This guide for parents was adapted from one of my favorite coaches, Bruce Brown. This is so we can work as a team and make your players the best they can be!

Roles and Responsibilities of Parents

Our first role as parents is to share expectations. Share your expectations you have for your kids, have them share their expectations they have as an athlete, and learn what the coach expects from everyone. A clear understanding of every role between parents, coaches and athletes is essential. This allows for there to be more open communication between families, and all the frustration along with any doubt can be put aside. That way athletes are not getting stuck in the middle between what their coach expects of them but also what their parents expect of them.

Second, you have to know your coach. The best thing a parent can do is let go when it comes to the game. Knowing and trusting your coach makes it easy to do this and there are a number of ways parents can build that trust with the coach. To help your child’s overall experience, talk to the coach about the treatment of your child (both physical and mental). Talk to them about the positives, negative and how to help improve those negatives. You can also talk to them about how your child is behaving, but you don’t want to talk negatively about the way the coach is training the team. That includes the playing time of your child, strategies/plays and the other kids on the team. Having these types of conversations with your coach will have clear expectations of what everyone can be improving on while also establishing a level of respect.

Now, what do athletes need the most from their parents? That’s easy.

Be a role model. Show the appropriate behavior you want your kids show both on and off the court. Kids are constantly looking up to you and will mimic the way you react in certain situations. This behavior also includes what you choose to focus on. When you focus on your child alone, they will only care about their individual performance. On the other hand, if you focus on the team as whole, they will focus on working with and helping their team. Overall, your kids need role models and mentors. As parents, you need to be the role models, because your kids only need one mentor, one instructional voice and that is the coach. They should be the only ones offering advice during practices and games.  

Now, your responsibilities as a parent do not end when the games are over. They continue after the game as well. As we just mentioned, the one instructional voice should be that of the coach. That means that after the game, you do not want to put on your “coach’s hat” and tell them what they did good and what they did bad. Instead, you want to listen to their reflection of the game and tie everything back to their goals. Bring it back to the bigger picture. That way you children aren’t looking back on the game in a negative light and losing all confidence. Instead, giving them the time and space to reflect on the game without any criticism will open up conversation and build confidence in the long run.  

At Watts Basketball, we feel the benefit of playing sports is that kids are given the opportunity to learn how to work and get along with others, take risks on the court, set and achieve goals by developing positive work habits, to succeed and fail with dignity, and develop friendships that can last a lifetime. This becomes a lot easier if parents are all on the same page and have clear expectations at the start of the season. Sometimes, previous habits are difficult to break, but we want to work together as a team to make sure your children have the best season yet.

Watts Basketball is Seattle’s premiere institution for player development. Through basketball, we teach strength, concentration, tenacity, and enjoyment of the game. We do all this because we believe basketball skills empower personal growth. That’s what makes us Gamechangers. For Life.

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