Each New Year brings us a rebirth, a new start and dreams of fresh beginnings. Most of us wish for the New Year to be better than the last, even if the last was pretty good. As parents, we are forever hopeful for good health and well-being for our children ourselves and our extended families.
The New Year also is a time when we individually and collectively make those silly New Year’s resolutions that we never really follow — you know the ones about losing weight or eating less sweets and things like that.
As we move into 2014 I would like to suggest some New Year’s resolutions for youth sports parents and encourage all of us to do our best to follow through on them, transitioning from a resolution to a way of life.
First resolution is that all youth sports parents embody the six principles of good sportsmanship; Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Good Citizenship. The other resolutions include:
I will not force my child to participate in sports.
I will remember that children participate to have fun and that the game is for youth, not adults.
I will inform the coach of any physical disability or ailment that may affect the safety of my child or the safety of others.
I will learn the rules of the game and the policies of the league.
I (and my guests) will be a positive role model for my child and encourage sportsmanship by showing respect and courtesy, and by demonstrating positive support for all players, coaches, officials and spectators at every game, practice or other sporting event.
I (and my guests) will not engage in any kind of unsportsmanlike conduct with any official, coach, player, or parent such as booing and taunting; refusing to shake hands; or using profane language
I will not encourage any behaviors or practices that would endanger the health and well-being of the athletes.
I will teach my child to play by the rules and to resolve conflicts without resorting to hostility or violence.
I will demand that my child treat other players, coaches, officials and spectators with respect regardless of race, creed, color, sex or ability.
I will teach my child that doing one’s best is more important than winning, so that my child will never feel defeated by the outcome of a game or his/her performance.
I will praise my child for competing fairly and trying hard, and make my child feel like a winner every time.
I will never ridicule or yell at my child or other participants for making a mistake or losing a competition.
I will emphasize skill development and practices and how they benefit my child over winning. I will also de-emphasize games and competition in the lower age groups.
I will promote the emotional and physical wellbeing of the athletes ahead of any personal desire I may have for my child to win.
I will respect the officials and their authority during games and will never question, discuss, or confront coaches at the game field, and will take time to speak with coaches at an agreed upon time and place.
I will demand a sports environment for my child that is free from drugs, tobacco, and alcohol and I will refrain from their use at all sports events.
I will refrain from coaching my child or other players during games and practices, unless I am one of the official coaches of the team.
Imagine what a wonderful youth sports world this would be if we all followed these resolutions? Happy New Year!
Greg Kamp is a 23-year veteran of youth sports as a coach and administrator and is currently the President of Penfield Little League and sits on the board at the District level. He is the host of Youth Sports Now, a weekly radio show on WYSL-AM/FM and also runs Strategy First, his own public relations and marketing business. Contact him at youthsportsradio@rochester.rr.com.