How Unruly Crowds and Parents Hurt Kids’ Confidence

Youth Sports Psychology

How Can Sports Parents Distract Kids?

Unruly parents and crowds can really hurt kids’ confidence, says Gil Fried, professor and head of the sport management department at the University of New Haven and an expert on crowd control.

Why? Just think about it. When athletes are trying to perform, what could distract them more than adults yelling or getting out of control on the sidelines?

Kids get distracted-and in some cases, worried about their own safety.

Sometimes it’s the parents who get out of control…

“Parents get so emotionally involved. This makes it less enjoyable for fans, kids and officials,” says Fried.

Sometimes it’s the players who go wild. He cited a recent incident during which kids went wild at a high school basketball game and unintentionally attacked a policeman.

It’s especially hard for kids when their parents get out of control because it embarrasses the kids.

He cites one case in which a player’s father got into a fight with a softball coach. “The child lost credibility with her teammates,” Fried says.

If you’re a parent tempted to stop fights at games, think twice, he advises. You might end up in the middle.

Instead of fighting, breaking up fights, or getting hot tempered, parents need to support their coaches and refs and encourage kids to play for fun-rather than to win at all costs.

With this kind of support, sports kids are more likely to feel confident-and less worried and distracted about what’s happening all around them.

Want to learn more about how to boost kids’ confidence in sports?

At Kids’ Sports Psychology, exclusive members can listen to our interview with Fried here:

Kids’ Sports Psychology Network
What’s more, as a member, you have access to many great resources designed to boost kids’ confidence and ensure they make the  most of their sports experience.

That includes ebooks, audios, videos, articles and more!

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