The project aims to create a best practice model, issued from activities carried on real sport activities to provide clear technical guidelines for trainers, coaches and sport association.

In this session we propose measures directed to parents.

Directive Behavior scale (DB)

It assess the extent to which parents control their children’s behavior in sport.

  • Regardless of the achieved result, after the end of the sports event, be sure to first praise your child for what he/she did well, for the effort, work and commitment shown. Praise is what the child needs most at that moment and something the best you can do for the child. If you want to give your child suggestions, which you think would be useful for him/her to improve his/her performance, do not do it immediately after the sporting event. Wait for the child to take a break from the game/competition and when both your and the child’s impressions subside, talk about the previously played game or competition.

  • After less successful games or performances, avoid focusing on the mistakes made and the worse aspects of your child’s performance. Instead, highlight everything the child has done well. Give him credit for his fighting spirit, athletic behavior, and hard work.

  • Do not criticize and accuse the child of not doing enough and not giving his/her maximum after less successful competitions or poor results. Children are very sensitive to negative criticism and accusation. Such a relationship can lead to the creation of feelings of guilt and a drop in the child’s self-confidence, which can later result in leaving the sport.

  • Support your child to help him overcome defeat or a bad result. Help him to shift the focus from defeat and to evaluate in an objective way his performance, as well as the quality of all previously undertaken segments of preparation.

  • Try not to ask your child questions after the competition that will overemphasize the importance of winning and the competitive result (“How many goals did you score? Who played the best?”). Ask your child questions about his or her experience of the game and the competition, to emphasize the importance of the fun and the effort and effort shown (“How did you feel while playing? Did you enjoy the game? What was your shot like in relation to the competition comparing to game from last week? ”).

  • Talk to your child about the progress of the training process and the results of competitions. Ask the child what perception he/she has about his/her progress, what he/she is satisfied with and what he/she is not, what is his/her problem, and what is the field of satisfaction and security. Provide your child with support and encouragement from the role of a parent, positive feedback and concrete advice. Avoid giving advice to the child regarding the manner and improvement of the training process and play techniques. Your child’s coach is in charge of that part of the job, and additional guidance from you could have a confusing effect on the child.

  • It is very likely that your child understands and experiences their participation in sports in a different way than you. Do not show anger in situations when you think that the child’s play could be better. Show that you are with the child even when he/she is not doing well. Be a source of support, faith and motivation for him/her.

  • Remember that your attitude towards your child’s athletic achievement affects the child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. The child’s wish is to be loved and accepted and for the parents to be satisfied with what the child is doing. Do not be angry with the child, do not scold him, do not humiliate and do not minimize his achievement because it can happen that the child will form a feeling of inferiority, a feeling that “it is not worth your love” or will experience himself as a failed person.

  • Be careful when giving advice to a child before a game or competition. Try to be inspiring, motivating and encouraging. Avoid advice that the child might experience as an obligation, criticism or reminder of a previous failure, which could put additional pressure on him and the appearance of negative feelings such as fear and anxiety.

  • Avoid giving your child specific advice about a competition or match before a game. Leave it to your child’s coach, who should be a safety zone for your child. Your advice could confuse and further burden the child. Instead, try to relax and encourage your child to give their best, to believe in themselves and the coach, and to listen to the coach’s suggestions.

  • The period immediately before the start of the game/competition is very important for the final preparations of the child. Leave enough space for the child to concentrate and prepare for the game/competition. This is the period when most children need to dedicate themselves to some of their usual rituals that they perform before going out on the field (meditation, breathing exercises, listening to music, playing games, warming up…) or to be in contact with teammates and the coach (final arrangements), mutual motivation and support, joint warming…). If the child does not like to be in his/her immediate vicinity, to give him/her loud support, respect the child’s need, and use the support for the period of the game or competition.

  • Do not react inappropriately, aggressively and unsportsmanlike while encouraging your child. Support the good points and moves of your child’s whole team, as well as the good game of the opponent. Remember that you are a model for identification and that it is very likely that the child will adopt the patterns of behavior that you promote. Also, it can happen that your too “loud” behavior causes uncomfortable feelings in the child (shame, fear, anger, rage…), which can affect the drop in concentration, and thus the quality of the game / performance.

  • Keep in mind that each child has their own need and motivation to play sports, which may differ in relation to your perception of the reason why a child should get involved in sports. For most children, sport is fun, and for only a small number of children, sport will be a future profession. Respect the child’s wishes and attitude towards sports and the training process, and try not to impose your own ambitions on them.

  • Be realistic in assessing your child’s abilities, based on which you will form realistic expectations of the child. Encourage your child to play sports in their area of ​​opportunity and interest. Do not press him for intensive training, which exceeds his capabilities, so as not to lose pleasure and enjoy sports activities, and thus to leave the sport.

  • Show the child that you are interested in his progress in the training process. If it is allowed and if it suits the child, occasionally visit one of the trainings. Be an observer and do not interfere in the child’s training process. Show respect and appreciation for what the coach does for your child, because in that way you will influence the creation of a child’s sense of trust towards the coach, as well as a sense of security in the training process itself.

  • In order to show interest and involvement in the sports activity that the child is involved in, talk to the child about what he is learning in training. If you understand the training process, you can additionally help the child to understand the purpose of certain exercises or to improve certain movements or techniques that he has already worked on with the coach. However, do not suggest that your child to practice movements or techniques that are different from what he/she has learned so far or that goes beyond working with his or her coach.

  • Allow your child to make independent decisions when playing sports, but letting them know that you are available in case they need help. In this way, in addition to the development of independence, you will also influence the development of responsibility, sense of competence and self-confidence in the child, which is the basis for successful sports, but also for success in other fields of interest of the child.

Praise and Understanding

It assess the praise and empathy parents display towards their children.

  • After a match/competition regardless of the end result, praise every effort, work or sporting behavior of your child. Don’t forget that praise is a very important and powerful reward that has a great influence on the child’s motivation to make more and more effort every time.

  • In situations of less successful results in play/performance, shift the focus from defeat or failure and try to single out and praise the good and successful aspects of your child’s play. You will surely find at least one point, move or activity of the child in which he/she shines. Also, the emphasis can be on fair play, on the relationship with teammates, the audience and the coach.

  • If you are disappointed or sad because of your child’s poor play / competition results, try not to show these feelings in front of the child, but to take a cheerful and optimistic attitude. In that way, you will show the child that it is okay to have bad days, as well as that victory is not the most important part of sports.

  • Praise the child after each match/competition in which he/she achieved a good result or victory. Try to praise in such situations as well, based on the effort, work and commitment shown, and not on the end result.

  • Try not to overemphasize joy, happiness and other positive feelings, so as not to influence the child to experience victory as the most important aspect of sports activity and the situation that alone deserves celebration and joy.

  • Talk to your child about his/her feelings about the sport they are playing. Help him/her name existing feelings. Encourage him/her to talk to you about unpleasant feelings. Ask him what influences his feelings, what aspects of the sports activity, as well as how you, friends from the club and the coach influence how he/she feels. Listen carefully to what your child is saying to you and try to normalize his/her feelings by telling him/her that it is perfectly fine to feel that way in some situations, that everyone has days when he/she does not feel nice, but that he/she will the days will come when they will feel better. Do not diminish or exaggerate the child’s feelings, just let him know that you understand and support him/her.

Active Involvement scale

It assess parents’ activity in the club or during practice sessions.

  • In order to contribute to the better functioning of the club in which your child trains, and in accordance with the possibilities and business policy of the club, get actively involved in the process of managing and organizing the planned activities of the club.

  • Be a part of sports events in which your child participates by contributing to the promotion, organization, preparation, realization, donation or some other form of support for the event itself, in accordance with your abilities and interests.

  • Work with your child’s coach. Get regular information about the training process and your child’s progress, as well as about events during free activities. Introduce the trainer to your observations about your child’s manifested behaviors and feelings that may be relevant to the training process. Also, it is important that the child is acquainted with your cooperation and the content of the conversation, which will be presented in a child-friendly way and in accordance with his age. Nurture a relationship of trust of the child, both in relation to you and in relation to the coach.

  • Show interest in your child’s sports activities. Set aside time to spend talking about current training events. Unobtrusively ask your child to tell you about events in training or competition. Encourage him to share with you less pleasant content, such as personal failures, worries, problems, inappropriate behaviors or unpleasant feelings, as well as possible problems in relationships with friends or coaches. Listen to what your child is telling you and try not to value the content presented, but to accept it as a current burden on your child who needs your support. If it is necessary for the child to correct his own behavior in a calm and precise way, point out to him the aspects of behavior on which he should work. Explain to the child in a clear and precise way how and why he should correct the selected behaviors. On that occasion, emphasize the behaviors that require correction, and not the characteristics and other qualities of the child. For example, tell your child, “The way you treat a friend is not good behavior,” instead of saying, “You’re not good.”

  • According to your and other family members’ abilities, in relation to your child’s training, adjust family obligations and routines, such as meals, time for relaxation, rest and sleep. In this way, you will provide support to the child and his sports activities, eliminate the potential concern of the child regarding the organization of obligations and at the same time contribute to a better organization of your time and the time of other family members.

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The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.