I think, that being a parent is something you cannot trade in for anything in this world, and it is an experience no money can buy. Then, suddenly, the day comes for you to watch your child play the first basketball game. You join other parents, neighbors, friends or colleagues on the bleachers and everyone is cheering and excited.

During my coaching career I’ve experienced different behaviours of parents watching the games. While the majority of them keeps calm and relaxed, there are other parents who do not always. I am a strong believer that you should motivate your children in a supportive and positive way. This will help them to perform the best they can and let them have a lot of fun at the same time.

I’ve seen parents, who shout at their kids when they do something wrong or try to give advice in the halftime break. This can get even worse when these particular parents start coaching from the other side of the court. It is very annoying for other parents, spectators and, especially, your kid. Also, this may contradict to the tactical decisions which a coach may have made to put the team in a good position to win. Kids will get distracted and confused to make right decisions because of the conflicts between following the orders of their parents versus the instructions from their coach.

This has inspired me to put up a list of my own of guidelines on how to not being an annoying sideline parent and getting the most of your child’s game.

[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]Please: Ask your children, whether they like you to cheer or not. The answer may surprise you. On occasions it varies in every family, culture and religious affiliations, but some children may like you to cheer them up, and others don’t because they would like to concentrate on their game.

[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]When I was supvervising a 12U team a couple of years ago, I had a father who had played basketball on a competitive level. He was a really nice guy, but he kept on giving advice to his son all the time during the game. This was really a problem, because in this game I had assigned special objectives to be completed by some of my players. In any case, do not tell your child to do something different to what has already been decided with the coaching strategy. Unless you are the coach, or at least part of the strategy team, you should not be telling your kid what to do in games.Cheer for your child to boost his or her confidence, but avoid giving specific instructions and issuing commands. This is very confusing for your child, and might affect the self-esteem to make right decisions during actual games. Contradicting commands will just be puzzling the child to do something right in the game, and deteriorates their self-confidence and restricts their ability to be creative in solving critical problems and impromptu strategy during active game.

[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]Demonstrating good sportsmanship by applauding exceptional moves by the opposition can create an aura which will show your child, that sports is just a game and nothing personal. It is a game which you can express appreciation, build friendships, gain respect from other players and learn self-discipline. This is an important part of life aswell.

[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2]Avoid running up and down the sidelines shouting or creating a scene that will divert the attention of your kid. Aside from the embarrassment he gets from his teammates, this can also disrupt their team plays. Running, shouting or blocking spectators view might create a tension or commotion between teams and audiences leading to major distractions to the entire game.Stay away from the baskets. In many youth leagues, standing behind the baseline is prohibited. Because it may distracts other players, coaches, or refs this may create biased attention. There are many places you can position yourself.

Choosing the right position or spot is very important to have a decent view of your child so you will not miss the exciting actions in the game. If you have the tendency to create noises during the game, stay in the front seat. If you stay in the middle, your voice may diffuse from where you sit up to the surrounding audience near you.

[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2]If you are frustrated or angry because of the result, keep your comments low and appropriate. Do not do trash talk out to the referees or opponents and let the coach handle it. Unless they are complimentary, do not direct undesirable comments to members of the opposition since it may create tension and commotion that will result in unnecessary attention that can embarrass both sides for acting in this non-professional way.

[dropcap2]6[/dropcap2]Practice silence. From time to time it is more relaxing for both parents and players. And you will, likely, view the game differently as well. It can create relaxing environment where everyone can enjoy it and get excited as the game reaches its peak.

[dropcap2]7[/dropcap2] Be positive, never negative. Child reinforcements are very important to appreciate their effort and strengths. There is always room for improvement so let your child know in a positive and supportive way.

Following proper sideline etiquette is one way of saying that you trust your child. You are there to cheer, watching with pride, and to let them feel that they are not alone in their endeavors. Let them feel that you are always there when needed. While enthusiasm and cheering can be inspiring, it is natural to get caught up in the emotion of the game, especially for children. At the end only discipline defines character and through character molds respect. With respect yields reputation as a good parent and a friend to your child.

[info_box]Picture credit: cogdogblogCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]