Who Am I?

As parents it’s natural for us to get caught up in the moment. We are protective of our own children and are affected by anything that happens on the sports ground, good or bad, to them. The child on the other team who hits out at our small one while the referee is not looking becomes enemy number one – even though our innocent, perfect, butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth, champion did the same thing 5 minutes previously – which we conveniently missed. Are we biased?

What feelings do we have for the opposition goalkeeper who had to pick the ball out of the net 10 times? If the referee misses a foul on our own child what feelings do we have towards this often very young person? What do we think about the coach that takes our child off at a key moment in the game? What if the coach does not, in our own expert opinion, appear to understand the game? The key test would be to have two imaginary hidden cameras, one that filmed our every reaction and one that filmed the game. Play them back together. I think a lot of us would be somewhat shocked and a little ashamed of one of two moments.

This test can help us understand the very foundation on which kids in teams is built on. Without investing time and understanding our behaviour the enjoyment, self-worth and development of some of the children, including our own, can be impacted.

Good or Bad?

Like it or not we are a mentor, a guide and a role model to the young people we are watching. When they grow up the role model leaves a far greater impression than the games played, won, lost and the trophies won. Never forget this. We have a huge responsibility. As a spectator of our children we should aim to be good role models.

This is work in progress for all of us. We are ever changing due to age and experience.


  • Analyse our own behaviour. Take the opportunity to do team building exercises or personality profiles, Have an open mind to the outcomes.
  • Play back the two imaginary films in our minds – did we do well?
  • The journey home. This tells us a lot. Take the opportunity to explain to the children what a great time we have watching them play. Don’t analyse the game and give them unwanted feedback.
  • Don’t criticise the coach, other children in the team or the referee to your own children.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your own child.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your own child’s team mates.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the opposition. Remember they are kids as well.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your teams Coach, the opposition coach and the referee.
  • Get feedback from our children. Continually ask if they are enjoying themselves, are they learning. If they are not ask them what we can do to change the situation.


All buildings have to have a solid foundation – The success of the children needs a solid foundation. The success is giving the children the opportunity to build their self-worth, enjoy themselves and develop the technical skills and develop as being part of a team – win lose or draw.

Watch the game through the eyes of the children playing it.

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