If you have ever watched a youth sporting event, you have probably seen parents that take the game way too seriously. They are screaming at their child, at the coach, at the referees. They show obnoxious behavior when their teams score, and they boo when the opponents score.
This is not appropriate behavior for parents of kids playing sports. Not only does this behavior show poor sportsmanship, but it can also have a negative effect on the children.
For one, parents who focus intensely on winning could inadvertently cause their kids to play through pain. They might not want to let their parents down, so they don’t mention that their shoulder or elbow hurts. That pain lingers until a serious injury occurs. This behavior could lead to an injury that shuts them down for a long time or even needs surgery.
It could subtlety encourage cheating. If winning is all that matters, kids could assume that taking shortcuts to win is acceptable. Worse yet, they could believe that the use of performance-enhancing drugs at some point in their playing days is appropriate.
The focus on winning at all costs puts a lot of pressure on the kids. At a young age, kids should have fun in sports. The pressure to win from parents and coaches can destroy that fun and lead to kids getting burned out and ultimately quitting.
Instead of focusing on the outcome, parents should encourage their children to always strive to improve. They should learn the skills and strategies of the game. And most of all, they should have fun playing.