Let’s face it, parents who yell or mouth off at their children, other children, the ref, the coach, or even at no-one in particular, do not make any game fun for anyone. Nor do parents who think little Kevin is going to be the best athlete the world has ever seen and are prepared to steamroll everyone on their way to the top.
Recently, I heard about a mum who ear-bashed the manager of their child’s under 8s football team because the child had been subbed off more than the other kids. Really?! The manager wasn’t responsible for the subbing, and the coach had subbed off the kid, not because he was ‘bending it like Beckham’, but because he didn’t want to play and was more intent on staring at the dandelions on the pitch than joining his teammates in the game.
So, can you see yourself in any of these very annoying parents on the sideline stereotypes? We hope not!
We all know at least one. These, in my opinion, are the worst type of sideline parent. They constantly put down their child in front of all the other kids and parents. And even when their child scores or makes a good play, they will call them ‘lucky’ rather than congratulate them. They are also horrible to sit next to, making the entire game uncomfortable. You end up feeling extremely sorry for the child and silently wish there was a ‘child protective services’ body for kids’ sport.
This parent could also be called ‘The Dreamer’. They are the one who is damn sure their kid is ‘destined’ to make it big and expect the coach and other players to treat them like the legend they are certain to become. They also expect their kid to act like said legend and adopt an ‘I’m better than you’ attitude (not that real legends actually do this at all). Unfortunately, they can’t see that their kid doesn’t want to become a superstar, is an average player, and just enjoys kicking or throwing a ball around with his or her mates. A US study of 1000 youth sports parents and 501 coaches found that more than one-third of coaches say they have experienced problems with parents’ unreasonable expectations regarding winning – despite three in four parents saying a primary reason they enrolled their child in sport was simply to have fun.
The Wannabe Coach
This parent is ultra annoying. They stand on the sidelines as close to the players as they are allowed, yelling ‘advice’ and telling them where they should position themselves. They also revel at yelling at the coach things like: ‘What was that?!’ and ‘Where did you learn how to coach: the back of a cereal packet?!’ Given that a lot of coaches are volunteers who simply love the sport and want to pass on their knowledge to the kids, this kind of behaviour is totally uncalled for.
This type of sideline parent crops up way to often in kids’ sport. They can’t accept the fact their kid won’t score a zillion goals each game because they don’t have the talent, and so blame the coach, the ref and even other players and team staff for their child’s – in their mind only – ‘poor’ performance. From ‘The ref isn’t giving her a chance’ to ‘Why isn’t my child getting enough game play, coach? You’re ruining their opportunity to score!’ and ‘He’s not having a great game today because he didn’t eat enough carbs last night’, I’m sure you’ve heard them all.
The Passive-agressive Pain in the Butt
This person (usually a dad on the opposing team) spews insults and passive-aggressive comments at anyone on your kid’s team. He might say things like: ‘C’mon Harry, you can take on this kid. He doesn’t know his foot from his elbow.’ Or ‘Your baby sister can kick better than him!’ Or, ‘Yeah, well done, coach. Teach your kids to hold the ball and waste match time.’
The Meltdown Mum
She’s the one who is making sure that goals aren’t mentioned AT ALL so as to not upset the emotional balance of her child if they should suspect they aren’t winning the game. But everyone knows that kids count the goals anyway, despite all good intentions. If anyone mentions who actually did ‘win’, this mum loses it completely and solidly believes that all the children will now need to go into therapy to cope with this information.
My advice: contain yourself, parents. You might want your kid to play in the EPL, NBL or reach Olympic heights, but your crazy antics aren’t going to help them. They are embarrassing and can cause unnecessary suffering to others. You are much better off taking the high road and setting a good example. We all want parents to be involved in their kids’ sporting lives, but in a positive way that is good for them, their teammates and all of the staff.
How will you behave the next game day?
Do you know any bad sideline parents? Are you one? How do you think they should be treated at kids’ sports games? Let us know in the comments below, and if I’ve left out any stereotypes!