How to Be a Good Sports Parent

Stephanie Specht's picture
By Stephanie Specht on November 28, 2016

Sports have become an important part of many kids' lives, which means it has become an important part of their parents’ lives as well. We all want our kids to be successful at whatever they do, but sometimes we worry that we are not doing enough, or doing it right for that matter. It can be stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be.

I sat down with Ashley Simpson, manager of athletic trainers for Carilion Clinic’s Sports Medicine program, to get tips on how to be a good sports parent before, during and after the game.

1. Communication
If your child has a concern or is complaining about an ache or a pain, don’t dismiss it. Talk to your child's athletic trainer or primary care provider. For example, our athletic trainers work directly with Carilion orthopaedists so they can help parents decide if their athlete needs to see a specialist or just modify activity level and rest the injury. 

2. Hydration
Make sure your child is well hydrated for games and practices. And that does not mean downing water right before the game. Your child should be taking in fluids all week for a big game comping up at the end of the week.

3. Nutrition
Encourage your child to ditch the junk food and focus on fueling her body efficiently by eating a healthy diet. Talk to your child's athletic trainer or health care provider for the best nutrition game plan.  

4. Injury prevention
Your child puts in lots of time and hours during the season, but staying in shape during the off-season is just as important to help prevent injuries. During the off-season, focusing on cross training is the best bet. It will ensure that not only certain body parts are being stressed.

5. Sleep
Sleep is essential for everyone, but for young athletes it is crucial. Growth hormone, which is released during sleep, is necessary for the stimulation and repair of muscles and tissues, building bone, burning fat and aiding in the body's repair and recovery. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents (ages 10 to 17) need between 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep per night.

6. Role model
Show your kids how you would want them to act in a competitive situation. Provide encouragement, remain calm, display good self-control skills and cheer for everyone on the team.

Sports provide a great opportunity for children to take risks and learn how to deal with failure. You are your child's biggest fan so keep it fun and safe for a successful season. After all, it is just a game.

Carillon Clinic's Sports Medicine program includes nine full-time athletic trainers who cover high school sports in the New River Valley and in Roanoke, Franklin and Rockbridge counties, as well as full-time athletic trainer for Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets program and the Roanoke Railyard Dawgs hockey team. Athletic trainers help prevent injuries, act as first-line medical coverage if there is an injury and provide return-to-play care for injured athletes.