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Where parents fit in...

By Bunnell, 02/13/15, 11:30AM PST

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Find out what athletes say is their worst memory from youth sports.

USA Today High School Sports has a weekly column on guiding student-athletes through the recruiting process. I know our players have a long way to go before they start that process, but their latest article highlights the role that parent's play in their child's athletic career.

I find myself falling into many of the behaviors with my son that they warn against. I'm sure I'm not alone.

"A parent’s role in their children’s athletic career should be to support, to watch and to encourage. Your child’s success or lack of success in sports has very little to do with your parenting skills. But, having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and who tries his or her best is a direct reflection on your parenting. A parent’s involvement is critical in youth sports..."

This stat really jumped out at me:

"Approximately 75% of children who play organized sports quit by age 13."

There are many reasons for this. Falling behind other players abilities, physical size, shifting interests, etc. However, many leave because of overbearing parents. 

A survey by Proactive Coaching LLC, asked hundreds of college athletes "What was your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?"

The overwhelming response: "The ride home from games with my parents."

Guess what they said when asked what made them feel great? The overwhelming response: "I love to watch you play.

They didn’t want to hear, “You played great,” or “your coach should have played you more,” or “why did you take strike 3?” They really just want to know that their parents enjoy seeing them participate and compete. On the next ride home, win or lose, good game or bad, consider just saying, “I love to watch you play.” If more parents would use these six simple words, maybe more kids would be inclined to stay in organized sports longer and enjoy the journey more.

Where the parents fit in | USA Today High School Sports