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Sports Mom 101: Managing Relationships (Part 4)

Welcome to the fourth installment of Sports Mom 101. Today’s discussion is about managing the relationships you will develop as a Sports Mom.

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There are several different relationships that you must consider when your child is an athlete. The relationship you have with your child, the relationship your child has an athlete with his coach, and the relationship you have with other parents. 

Managing Relationships: Parent to Athlete

John O’Sullivan, the founder of the Changing The Game Project, writes in his book that the best thing a parent can do for a student-athlete is to say, “I really enjoy watching you play,” and mean it. Win or lose, good or bad, the most effective way to support the emotional needs of your child is to express joy and sincerity to just be there.

Sports Mom 101 Relationships Coach

Another important aspect of the parent-athlete relationship is to dial it back. If you’re not coaching the team, don’t coach from the sideline. It will either undermine the coach’s authority or undermine your own. And it can make your athlete uncoachable, which impacts his relationships with other players and coaches.

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Managing Relationships: Parent to Coach

The most important factor in the parent-coach relationship is to remember that many coaches are volunteers. There are some cases as your athlete competes for her school or elite teams when coaches are paid. That’s only a little different. Most coaches have the best interest of the athletes at heart. It will be clear when that is not the case.


Jillian wants to know the best way to support the team mom and what gifts to give coaches. The best gift you can give your athlete’s coach is your prompt presence and cooperation. Seriously. Get there on time for drop offs and pick ups during practice and games. If you want to offer something tangible, Harold (aka #CoachDaddy) says gift card are always nice.

As far as supporting team moms is concerned, becoming one is a great first step. If you’re not able to make that commitment, volunteering to communicate, organize and of course bring snacks are also ways to build positive relationships while supporting the coach and the team.

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Managing Relationships: Parent to Parent

Allison from FamilyVacationsUS.com asked, “How do I not beat up the obnoxious sports moms?” And let’s just be honest, we’ve all met that one mom (or dad) who just makes the game unbearably awkward. Maybe they belittle the other team or become irate when their kid is benched. Some even yell at the refs (I may or may not be guilty of this). No matter the case, your best bet is to just ignore them, unless they’re behavior is directed at the children. Then, try and find some common ground outside of the shared team before you approach them.  A heated confrontation, while sometimes unavoidable, will make things worse for everyone. You can always bad mouth them after the game, but not in front of the kids.

The first season Alexandra played flag football there was the nicest man who came to every game to support his grandson, also in his first season. Throughout every game, he would scream, “Hit somebody!” as 6-year-olds scurried up and down the field like a herd of cats. I never said anything, and thankfully none of the kids took his advice…considering it was flag football and all.


We’re almost at the close of Sports Mom 101. Have you kept up with the series? Are you better prepared to survive the sideline this season? The last installment is focused on time management and getting it all done. Leave a comment to tell us what you’ve learned thus far.

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