In Choking/Fears/Slumps and Blocks, Parents' Role in Youth Sports, Problems in Youth Sports

A mother is watching her college-aged daughter, C, now a senior, play in a championship doubles match. Mom is hanging onto the fence directly behind the court as if it’s the only thing preventing her from being swept away by a strong wind. She has been yelling and screaming, at times inappropriately, in response to the rise and fall of the match and her daughter’s fortune.

After a very long rally, C was hit a soft ball just inside the baseline. She then wound up and absolutely crushed a forehand straight at her opponent who was standing at the net. The ball was hit so hard that her opponent had no time to even react. The ball smacked the girl right in the face, near her eye and she went down like a ton of bricks!

A hushed silence fell on the court and then everyone started running to the fallen girl’s aid including her coach and the opposing team’s coach. And then the silence which followed was suddenly shattered by a lone woman yelling, “YEAH C! GREAT SHOT BABE! WAY TO GO!”

Yup, you guessed it! That was dear old mommy! Excuse me, but is there something a little wrong with this picture? You mean, winning the point and possibly the game with that shot wasn’t the most important thing here? Are you trying to tell me that it actually mattered that C’s opponent might have been hurt? C’mon, you’re kidding me, right?!

This is a horrifying example of how some parents are so distracted by their own selfish needs and so corrupted by needing to win that they have totally lost touch with reality and what is right and decent! What kind of sick, twisted lesson does this kind of parental behavior communicate to kids?! What kind of lesson does this teach about the process of competing? You mean it doesn’t matter HOW you win or WHAT YOU DO to win. It only matters that you win?! It doesn’t matter if you injure your opponent just as long as you can come out on top in the end?

Hey, this is the same exact thing that goes on when a kid cheats! When a parent sits and watches their child compete, yet says nothing when that child is obviously cheating, the message being communicated is pretty much the same: The only thing that’s counts here is winning. Honesty, sportsmanship, respect for both the rules of the game and the opponent and integrity are totally unimportant!

Thankfully this woman’s behavior had already been reported to the tournament director and shortly after that he had a little “chat” with the individual. After that she wasn’t heard from and only seen watching from a distance, a good five or six courts away from the action!

There is absolutely no room and no excuse for this kind of outrageous and destructive behavior in competitive sports of any kind!


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