House league sports are great. They are competitive without being over the top. You can sit back and enjoy the game without fistfights breaking out (this literally happened during the baseball season) or harsh words being thrown your way by other parents on and off your team.
Then, travel sports come along, and it’s a whole new ball game, literally and figuratively. While a travel team itself becomes more competitive for its players, it also becomes competitive with parents. It all becomes a bit over the top, and for what? You don’t gain anything from your kid being the MVP of the game or being the starting shortstop.
For me personally, I will only continue all this craziness for as long as my children want it. Should one of them tell me they are no longer having fun, we are done. There is nothing more upsetting than watching parents trying to relive their youth or continue in social circles by forcing their children to play a sport that they have no interest in. Not only does that disrupt the mental health of your child, but you also bring team morale down because there are children who do not want to be there.
If everyone could follow five simple rules, I think that there would be much more enjoyment for players and parents in travel sports.
- Respect the people who have stepped up to take the coaching roles on the team. Have a 24-hour calming period if you need to approach the coach. Nothing good comes out of speaking with high emotion.
- Positions are not punishments or rewards. Every spot on any team is an integral piece of the puzzle.
- Instill being a good teammate in your child. It is never ok to talk down to your teammates or your coaches. There is no “I” in team.
- Be realistic about your athlete.
- Make sure your child is always having fun!