A Powerful Message for Parents in the Stands

I never coached my eldest daughter. Instead, I sat in the stands and made little comments like, “Watch the pick,” “hustle back on D,” “Don’t leave your man.”  Things like that. I then watched the following video by Frank Martin, the animated basketball coach of the University of South Carolina. I realized that, according to him, I crossed the line as a parent. Hey, I just wanted the best for my child, but I didn’t know the defensive scheme or the role my daughter had on the team. I was guilty of coaching from the stands.

After watching this video, I took Coach Martin’s message to heart. I signed up to be a coach for my second daughter. Truth be told, I am not very good, but it has been a lot of fun. I teach several aspects of the game that other coaches commonly overlook. I focus on fundamentals and teamwork. My number one rule on the team is “No ball hogs allowed – if a player scores three consecutive baskets, she will immediately be pulled from the game.” I even put shooting restriction on my best players or set goals for the amount of assists during a game. I am also able to focus on the character and leadership elements that I think are so important for life development. By the end of the year, we are a “team,” not a bunch of individuals playing on a team.

Now when I sit in the stands at my eldest daughter’s games, I am careful to say nothing more than, “Good job,” or “Great pass.”  Otherwise, I am moot. I don’t criticize the officials or try to second-guess the coach. When my child has a problem or a concern with her coach, I ask her to speak to the coach (even if she won’t do it).

Joe’s Perspective: I think more parents should watch this video. I agree with Coach Martin. Parents do coach from the sidelines, they do send conflicting messages and they do place undue pressure on their kids. Some parents even have the nerve to criticize volunteer referees for 5th grade games. So, I say, either sit there and support your child from the stands or get off your butt and become a coach.

Your Turn: If you could give some advice to your parents sitting in the stands, what would it be? Why?

Comments 156

  1. When you’re screaming everything that I make mistakes in, it’s puts me under more pressure. Even if you’re yelling the loudest for no reason, puts more pressure. I understand your support, but toning it down is a bit better and reassuring.

  2. Yelling from parents while possibly inaccurate helps me sometimes. Even though I don’t always listen to the content of the advice it does help motivate me

  3. When a parent is screaming at their kid it can make their kid confused because when a coach tells them something it’s usually different from what the parent says and will make their kid confused while it is normal for a parent to support their kid but if you want to tell them what to do it while they are sitting/resting .

  4. You shouldn’t put to much pressure on your kids because that makes them think about if they can really do this or puts even more pressure on them.

  5. That nobody should judge u how u speakk to your child in the stands.And that u have the freedom to say anything of your choice.And if there was a problem that somebody said that your were coaching on the sideline u should just listen a little in move on.

  6. The advice I would give the parents is to back off because the kids are just trying to play the game and the referees
    are just trying to make the right call without a bunch of adults screaming at them.

    1. That nobody should judge u how u speak to your child in the stands.And that u have the freedom to say anything of your choice.And if there was a problem that somebody said that your were coaching on the sideline u should just listen a little in move on.

  7. That no matter what you should be able to cheer for you child even if you’re the only one cause your allowed to be proud of them.

  8. parents should sign up to be a coach if they want to coach their kid they shouldnt have to be in the stands and they should help their kids in a specific way that isnt yelling at them during a game

  9. The parents should leave their kids to play the game cause it could confuse the kids and other people because the referees are supposed to make all the calls without all of the kids parents screaming at everyone

  10. Let the coaches do their job. Coaching from the stands only annoys those around you and puts excessive pressure on the players.

  11. I would tell them that i’m a ok and if they want to give advice don’t have it on the top of their lungs and they can just tell me during the intermission or while im not on the field or court or timeout

  12. I would say to them “I appreciate you wanting the best for me but dont coach in the back round if you have any suggestion on my playing tell me after the game please.”

  13. The parents should leave the kids alone because it could embarrass them and confuse others because of the parent’s body language.

  14. I would tell my parents to leave it to the coaches and I’d also tell my Dad to stop yelling the opposite of the other dads.

  15. The parents in the stands can get a little crazy sometimes. If I was to give advice to the parents I would say to calm down a little bit because it is just a game.

  16. The advice I would give the parents is to back off because the kids are just trying to play the game and the referees
    are just trying to make the right call without a bunch of adults screaming at them.

  17. I agree with Coach Martin, because they are just pressuring their kids to do better, and not helping them at all. Instead of helping, it makes them feel like they have to do it like their parents want or have to do better, even if they are doing their all they feel bad because you are feeling them to do something.

  18. I agree. Support is always nice and reassuring, but often it can be better to tone one’s comments down a bit.

  19. When you’re screaming everything that I make mistakes in, it’s put me under more pressure. Even if you’re yelling the loudest for no reason, puts more pressure. I understand your support, by toning it down is a bit better and reassuring.

    It very unnecessary

    1. Parents should let their kids play without telling them what to do on the field or the court. The parents should leave it to the coach to decide what to do with the team and decide who plays.

  20. I agree with the coach. It can be hard for kids sometimes too, and not just adults. I also like how he challenges his kids to do better.

  21. I would tell my parents to let the coaches coach the team and to stay out of it. My parents should let the coaches teach the kids and let us have fun and not feel bad when we get yelled at.

  22. I agree with the coach because I don’t think it is right to coach young kids the way that coaches now do. It is too much pressure.

  23. Yelling at kids for their mistakes and telling them to do something is only putting more stress on them that they don’t need. You shouldn’t yell at your children on the sidelines because it only makes them feel more frustrated and like they’re doing something wrong. Children should be able to get advice from the coach not the parent.

  24. Parents should be there to support their kids, not criticize what they’re doing wrong. I would tell my parents that during the game, they should only cheer me on and motivate me, but after the game, I would be fine receiving helpful criticism.

  25. If a parent is trying to coach from the sidelines and is getting worked up, they just need to calm down. Kids are supposed to just have fun when playing a sport, not be uptight since their parent is yelling at them.

  26. I would tell my parents to just watch and not yell because it would affect how I play and make me feel pressured.

  27. To all you parents on the sidelines, I believe that it’s the COACHES job to coach the kids, not the parents. If you’re coaching all the other kids, you might as well be a coach. Just let the coach do his job and support the kids.

  28. I would tell my parents to just watch and not yell because it would affect how I play and make me feel pressured..

  29. The dad isn’t going to coach them because he isn’t their coach and he makes sure that he is there for his two boys but he doesn’t tell them how to play. also when they needed to ask a question they would go to him sometimes because their dad is a coach after all but he turns them away and tell them to go ask their coach because he isn’t their coach but when a different sistuation happens their dad will be their but he will not coach them.

  30. When you yell at your kid it doesn’t help them at all. Maybe they should give them positive advice like you’ll get it next time or be ready for the ball. But definitely don’t scream at them.

  31. The parents should leave their kids to play the game cause it could confuse the kids and other people because the referees are supposed to make all the calls without all of the kids parents screaming at everyone

  32. If you could give some advice to your parents sitting in the stands, what would it be? Why?

    I would probably say that it is useless to yell at kids in the game because it probably wont do anything. I would say this because many parents yell at the kids for no big reasson.

  33. I don’t need a parent telling me what to do when I know so much more than them and they only tell me things i’m already doing or shouldn’t be doing.

  34. Putting more pressure on your child won’t help them. It will make them stressed. If parents do want to give advice to their child sign up for the coach. But when on the sidelines just support them.

  35. Your kid is embarrassed when you are constantly screaming at the other team or your kid. You need to be supportive of your kid and the other team.

    HAVE GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Your kid is embarrassed when you are constantly screaming at the other team or your kid. You need to be supportive of your kid and the other team.

    HAVE GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP!

  37. If I am in a game, yelling at me to do things stresses me out, I know what I am doing, I don’t need to get confused, if you yell at me to do something and the coach tells me to do something different or not to do it, I stresses me out and overwhelms me. Also, don’t yell things like ‘C’MON YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!’ or, ‘EVEN [kid’s name] IS BETTER THAN THAT!’, it really upsets me. So just be nice and don’t do that.

  38. when a parent is screaming at their kid it stresses out the kid, annoys the coach, makes the kids feel bad, and doesn’t help anything at all.

  39. Parents while watching a game may be screaming their kids name that could cause the kid to get distracted and perform worse.

  40. when a parent actually is screaming at their kid it stresses out the kid, annoys the coach, mostly makes the kids basically feel bad, and doesn’t help anything at all in a generally big way.

  41. That nobody should judge u how u speakk to your child in the stands.And that u have the freedom to say anything of your choice.And if there was a problem that somebody said that your were coaching on the sideline u should just listen a little in move on.

  42. Well I would tell them I am just a kid I am not perfect there will not be any scholarships handed ou so let me play and learn from my mistakes .

  43. don’t put to much pressure on your kids or tell them to do something because they are following their coaches and trying their best.

  44. If you’re in the stands don’t yell or chant my name because that makes me feel embarrassed and even more stressed than before.

  45. I think that parents coaching from the sidelines can get annoying in some cases even when parents are very passionate about the sport in question.

  46. yelling at your child for the smallest things puts us under pressure so keeping the child stress free would be a better and healthier relationship for the parent snd teacher.

  47. My advice for parents cheering their kids in the stands is don’t be too hard on them. They are doing the best they can already without your constructive criticism.

  48. Parents should wait till after the game to give criticism and try to learn the coaches side of the story before saying what the kid should do.

  49. When parents coach from the stands it can confuse players. Confused players=mistakes which equal losses which isn’t good for the entire team.

  50. I’ll give them like, don’t yell for no reason cause coaches aren’t going to do nothing about it. You should be considerate of their decisions and talk about after the game ended.

  51. parents can distracts people that are playing when they are yelling in the crowds and that can not be good sometimes

  52. That parents shouldn’t use inappropriate language at a Childs or anybody game while they’re in the stands, because it’s not setting a good example and its not good sportsmen ship.

  53. parents sitting in the stands should leave the coaching to the coaches, they are probably hurting more than they are helping.

  54. Please be sure to be respectful, especially if it is a kids sport game. Also, please make sure not to be too loud because it could not only mess up the other team, but it could mess up your own as well.

  55. They need to stop trying to coach, instead leave the coaching to who it belongs to, such as the actual COACHES. Like, I know you’re 40 years old KAREN BUT SHUT UP. Ok thanks.

  56. I WOULD TELL THEM NOT TO POINT OUT MY MISTAKES UNTIL AFTER THE GAME, AND JUST TELL ME TO CONTINUE DOING THE PARTS THAT ARE GOOD.

  57. I would tell them to just watch the game and if you want to cheer for your son/daughter then do it. Just dont yell too loud and dont distract them.

  58. it’s like they don’t understand IM the one who is playing you don’t get it it’s not always that easy to score and it doesn’t help to yell just makes it worse.

  59. Sometimes parents telling you what to do and how to play the game puts you under more pressure. Not only are you trying to play but also trying to please you coach and your parent

  60. I agree with this, if your not a coach, be quiet. Why don’t you become a coach? Or if you think the referee has the wrong call, why don’t you be the referee? Parents listen to this, please.

  61. parents and people doing that is one not fair for the other players it could bring them down emotionally and it’s also not fair for the coach because they are doing the coaching for him/her or gender nuchal

  62. It’s like the parents think it’s supposed to be so easy to score but at the same time it’s hard and I’m the one that’s playing you should be cheering me on not shouting at me.

  63. Parents shouldn’t yell at their kids in games because it could put them under a lot of pressure and they should let the coaches coach instead of them acting like they know everything

  64. I would tell them to not yell because then why would I listen i would tell them to give me advice rather than critisize

  65. If you keep telling your kid what to do and not letting the coach tells them they may get confused and not know what to do

  66. If I could give the parents advice it would be to keep their composure till after the game. I would much rather hear about it after then be embarrassed in the moment.

  67. My advice to parents is to be supportive to their children and their teammates when cheering them on. They should be positive because the constructive criticism should be coming from the coaches.

  68. My advice would be to just be supportive to them and their teammates when sitting in the stands.leave the coaching to the coaches!

  69. I think parents need to let the coaches coach the players. And be a positive source for all players. They shouldn’t be yelling at the players from the stands.

  70. My advise for the parents is to not coach for the stands because you don’t know how they practice or what works for them. And what your saying could go against what the coach is telling them

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