When it comes to recreational sports, I’m all too familiar with the parents and coaches who sit on the sidelines and scream the entire game. Whether it’s during a recreational soccer game or a relaxed beach volleyball game, I’m certain I’ve heard it all. No matter the sport or the level of competitiveness, though, parents should let their kids be kids.
Playing sports is something that nearly every kid in our area gets the privilege of experiencing. It is a time for us to run around, get some exercise and make new friends. If you’re playing a sport recreationally, you are signing up for a weekend activity to have some fun and it is no place for a parent to lose their mind over a play or a call.
College scouts don’t come to recreational sports games for young children, so they need to stop acting like each play is detrimental to their future as an athlete.
I have found that the most competitive people on recreational sports teams are sometimes the parents. I remember playing goalie during a soccer game when I was in seventh grade, and I let a ball get by me and into the goal. Parents from our team got really aggressive because it was an easy ball that I missed, but those words were the beginning of what would be a dislike of the atmosphere the sport brought. It is OK to get excited and cheer on the sidelines, but yelling at young children for not passing the ball to the right spot or not getting a good dig is a bit extreme.
According to the National Alliance for Sports, 70 percent of children leave organized sports by the age 13. This would be, for example, out of the ten players on your childhood soccer team, only three of you would still be playing beyond eighth grade.
Maybe kids are being pushed too hard to be phenomenal athletes in elementary school and are dropping sports altogether in middle school, because of that pressure from coaches and parents; supporting your kids and encouraging their interests will go father than pushing them to do well, and that goes for any activity. That’s not the point of organized sports; the point is to have fun. Whether you’re picking the dandelions on the sidelines or you are the lead scorer for your team, sports should be a safe atmosphere for everyone.