How to Be a Great Sports Parent

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Team sports are a great way for kids to learn the lessons of teamwork, problem-solving and simply how much fun it is to exercise and get some fresh air. But the example that some sports moms and dads are setting are far from ones that are appropriate. Did you know that the National Association of Sports Officials documented more than 100 assaults on referees and umpires last year? It may seem extreme, but sideline heckling, argumentative coaches and teaching kids dirty tricks to win undermine the entire point of the game, which is fun. Up to 70 percent of kids quit playing team sports by the time they hit middle school, and many cite the reason as too much parental pressure and coaches' negative attitudes. So as adults, it sounds like we need to grow up and adjust our attitudes when it comes to team sports. Maybe you're trying to live vicariously through your athletic child if you weren't into sports, so you're hard on her when she has a bad practice or botches a key game play. It's important to react positively and with encouragement, regardless of the child's performance so that she doesn't get discouraged.