Parents and Adult Fans: The Biggest
Challenge Facing High School Sports Today
By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of
State High School Associations (NFHS) and Steve Savarese,
Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association
1. Be the responsible one. You are the adult whom others model behavior after. Your behavior should not be a negative reflection or impression on your family or school. Make them both proud by being the model of good sportsmanship.
2. Parents should not live their lives vicariously through their children. High school sports are educational athletic opportunities for the student-athletes. Your family's reputation is not determined by how well your children perform on the field of play.
3. Let Your Children Talk to the Coach Instead of You Doing It for Them. High school athletes learn how to become more confident, independent and capable through open communication with their coaches. Let your children discuss concerns with their coaches, and you be their supportive listener when they share the discussion with you.
4. Be supportive. No matter how much you disagree with the coach's decision or official's call, avoid coaching or officiating from the sidelines. Your role is to be a responsible, supportive parent--not a coach or official.
5. Remember, participating in a high school sport is not about getting a college scholarship. According to the NCAA, less than 3% of all high school athletes are awarded an athletic scholarship to participate at the next level, and the total value of the scholarship is only about $18,000. Playing sports in high school should focus on the experience and life lessons that are learned. If a scholarship is offered as the result, that's great. If not, it's still great because the child has been a part of a team and has some great memories that are priceless.
6. Make sure your children know you love watching them play. Do not critique your child's performance during the car ride home. Participating in high school sports is about character development, learning and having fun--not winning and losing. Don't waste important time discussing things you can do nothing about. Focus on making memories. The time your child is a high school athlete is short. Enjoy the moment.