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Before youth sports start up again, take time to reflect
August 7, 2013

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August is sort of a "blah" month in the youth sports world. Camps are mostly over, fall practices have yet to begin, and we have to face the fact that summer is rapidly coming to an end.

As I was biking one morning and thinking about a topic for this month's column, I started thinking about my top five mistakes as a youth sports parent and coach.

It didn't take me long to come up with about 20 (it was a short ride). From that list I managed to narrow it down to five. And then I decided to try and determine my absolute worst moment.

That one was actually an easy decision. It was an incident where I approached a coach during a game about running the score up on the other team. It was my son's coach running up the score. It wasn't the first time and I had seen enough. My son was horrified (at me) and rightfully so.

The coach's decisions were so poor all season that the league did not invite him back to coach, which in my mind somewhat proved my point. But I still have to rank that in-game confrontation as my worst youth sports moment - if for no other reason than my son's reaction.

This mental exercise I put myself through is probably one we should all complete, and before the fall sports seasons begin is the perfect time to do it.

Think back to every team you either coached or cheered for as a parent and try to think of a few things you said or did that you wish you could take back (but, like in my case, unfortunately can't).

The items on your "regret list" may have involved your own child, others on your own team (players or parents), officials or even members of the opposing team. But my guess is you can come up with at least three.

The goal of this exercise - and thus this column - is to recall those incidents and try to make sure they don't happen again, not just this fall, but ever again. And not just in youth sports, but if your child plays at the high school or any other level.

There's nothing to be ashamed of -- we've all had our not-so-memorable moments in youth sports we'd like to forget. It's just part of the youth sports game.

The most important thing is that we admit them. And then, like we tell our kids, learn from our mistakes.

I know I did.

Contact Jon Buzby at JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @youthsportsbuzz on Twitter.

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