Hardly a week goes by without a story about a sports parent behaving badly. It matters not what the sport is, the age of the athlete or what part of the country or world it occurs in.
Let's face it...we live in a nation obsessed with sports and, more importantly, winning. At the youth sports level winning is far more difficult to predict than at higher levels. The reason is simple...kids! Kids are still learning the game and, as such their performance levels can vary widely from one day to the next. Therefore for parents to EXPECT a certain level of performance from their athlete or their team is a losing proposition from the onset.
As a coach I see the sports parent - child dynamic up close...and it isn't pretty sometimes. Why parents feel the need to inject themselves into their athlete's games rather than simply spectate is a question that has several answers to it. As a sports parent myself I'll admit that I used to be a borderline "behave badly" kind of dad. Although my daughter may say that I crossed the border all too frequently! Let's look at some of the answers to the question as to "why" parents act the way they do:
Pure Competitiveness. The old athlete in many of us lies dormant until our kid's game day. Some parents inject themselves into the game from a competitor perspective. In other words they see themselves winning or losing the game. And when you hate to lose you take it personally. The fallacy of this type of thinking is that, as a parent, you have no control over the outcome of the game...so to take your athlete or their team's performance "personally" is unproductive and absurd! These type of sports parents are living vicariously through their children; perhaps hoping their kid will be the athlete they were or never were. These sports parents are often found pacing or watching the game from the outfield or parking lot.