How Your Child Becomes a Better Athlete When You Volunteer

Why We Should All Step Up To Help This Sports Season

Parents have by far the biggest impact on their child’s sporting experience.

Yes, there are coaches, officials and other sports leaders who are important to the environment created, but it is the mums and dads who will ultimately have the biggest effect.

Consequently, there is much that parents can do to positively influence their child.


The Kids Are Watching

We all know how observant kids can be. We are often astounded at the minute details that they take in, and what they remember and relate back to us.

They are observing us all the time, looking for cues, direction and guidance. They are always watching, even when we don’t know they are watching.

Our children will be a reflection of us.

Therefore when we are asking our children to step forward into a new sporting season or even a new sport, what type of example are we setting if our first reaction is to take a step back?

What Stops Us?

In a youth sports environment many parents choose to stand back when they could be helping. What is one of the biggest reasons for this?

Let’s be honest. It’s fear.

We don’t know what to do.

We don’t know anyone.

We are scared of making a mistake.

We don’t feel competent.

We are fearful of being judged.

We don’t want to look stupid.

We don’t want to step outside our comfort zone.

Ironically, these are some of the very things that we are hoping our kids will learn to overcome when they play sport. We want them to build character and learn to cope with what comes their way.  We want them to learn about determination, courage, coping with success and failures, teamwork, having a go and that any skill can be developed with effort. We want them to be prepared to step outside their comfort zones and grow.

How about we lead by example?

What better message to send our kids than to show them through our actions that: “I’m nervous, I don’t know what to do, I might stuff up, but I’m prepared to learn and give it a crack”

Wow. We just impressed our kid and our influence will stick with them forever. We have taught them a vital lesson about how to achieve in sports and in life. And they will remember it.

Let’s Lead The Way

Let’s start looking at youth sport volunteering in a different way. You may not want to help, it may be inconvenient, it may make you anxious. But let’s take the angle that it’s not about us. It’s about our kids and the enormous positive impact that we can have by showing that we are prepared to overcome fear, roll up our sleeves and learn something new.

Actions speak louder than words.

And as I heard James Leath say:

“Character is caught, not taught.”

Further reading


Working With Parents In Sport

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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