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Bad Behavior? Bad Coaches? Good Sportsmanship? 5 Things Every Sports Mom Should Know

Do you have a future Victor Cruz, LeBron James or David Beckham in your house? It’s Sports Week on MochaManual.com and we asked our resident youth sports expert, Duane Kinnon, COO of YES Inc. (Youth Education Through Sports) a New York City-based non-profit, to give us the skinny on  what every mom needs to know to make the most of her child’s sports activities. Read on! (and don’t foget to LIKE our FACEBOOK PAGE or Follow us on Twitter to win a REAL.BIG. Fathead.

Every mother understands that there are important benefits that come along with their child’s participation in sports. Across the country, ballparks, athletic fields and gymnasiums are playing host to over 50 million youth in the United States.  With these numbers, participation in sports can make a huge positive impact on youth outside of the typical health and fitness aspects of active play.

In today’s ever-changing, competitive sports programming, the traditional positive benefits oftentimes missed. Too frequently, we rely on professional athletes to be role models for our children, however, the high stakes associated with professional sports events like the current NBA Finals showcase to the world that it is commonplace to assault, hit and fight other opponents for the sake of winning. This poor behavior and lake of control has also been labeled at times as exhibiting “intensity” or “leadership.” Are children are definitely watching. So, in an effort to make sports what they are intended to be – a meaningful and entertaining game – here are five things that every “Sports Mom” should know:

1)      Make Sure That Your Child Is Having Fun: Don’t be afraid to check in and ask the question. The number one reason why most children quit playing sports is because the game stopped being fun.

2)      Incorporate education into sports participation as early as possible: Connect athletics to school performance so that your child understands that playing is not a “right” it’s a “privilege.” The privilege play, no matter how talented they are or how important they are to the team has to be earned in the classroom. No exceptions!

3)      Pay Attention To Safety: In today’s world, all sports may be considered “Contact Sports.” Therefore, it is so important to understand that there are two things every sports mom should make sure of:

  1. That your child plays safely. Meaning that they understand the importance of warming up properly and proper technique is being used when executing play in a particular sport. For example – tackling with your head up can prevent concussions in football.
  2. The coaches, supporters or league administrators should be certified in First Aid and CPR. Emergency plans and/or procedures should also be in place in the event that a child is hurt in practices or games.

4)      Understand The Coach’s Credentials and Philosophy: In youth sports, a coach is the most important/Influential figure in the development of your child. Coaches need to be masters at motivating young athletes so that they can perform at their best.  Young people might not remember every good teacher that they have had, but they will surely remember a good coach. Also, be sure that you understand the coach’s thoughts on team culture and fair play. Yelling is part of the game and coaching at times, but it must be done in a productive instructional way, not to belittle or degrade players.

5)      Promote leadership & Good Sportsmanship – Today’s athletes are more emotional than ever. Too often, you see children (and adults) crying because they lost a game or getting upset because they felt that an official was “cheating.” As a parent, you can instill a powerful lesson in children as early as possible by helping children learn how to win & lose gracefully. Winning, losing and competition will be an ongoing part of your child’s life even outside of sports, so please don’t miss an opportunity to build strength, fortitude and solid coping skills in your child through sports. It will prepare them well for their adult futures.

There are many more tips that will assist you in helping your child have wonderful experiences playing sports, but overall, the best thing that a Sports Mom can do is what she does best – provide love, support and realistic expectations. Whether your child plays briefly, recreationally, earns a scholarship or ends up being one of the very few that becomes a professional athlete, your love and interest in your child’s activities is the most important factor in your child’s growth and development.


Duane Kinnon is a nationally recognized leader in youth development with more than 30 years of family service experience working with global organizations like the Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of America, the NYC Department of Education, various School Districts, Parks & Recreation Departments and Public Housing Authorities. He has designed created and led the delivery of large, complex youth education initiatives including Child Care, Early Childhood Education, Supplemental Educational Services, Afterschool programs, Teen Services and College Prep Programs. His work also includes implementing NFL, MLB & NBA/WNBA youth sports programs and he created the first Police Athletic League (PAL) in Syracuse in partnership with the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. Duane Kinnon was an All-East football team captain at Syracuse University and played professional sports in both football and baseball. He holds a B.S. in Child & Family Studies from Syracuse University and Masters of Science in Business Administration from the Metropolitan College of NY and his nonprofit organization Youth Education Through Sports, Inc. hosted Youth Day for the NCAA® and the POWERADE® NCAA® Youth Clinic at the Men’s Final Four® in Atlanta. Learn more about YES Inc. and LIKE their page https://www.facebook.com/YouthEducationThroughSports


One Response to “Bad Behavior? Bad Coaches? Good Sportsmanship? 5 Things Every Sports Mom Should Know”
  1. Kathy says:

    This is really great info…I’ve seen parents act worse than the children. The advice about good sportsmanship should be directed to mons and dads…because kids are learning from them..thanks for sharing this important advice. .. Does Mr. Kinnon know how young you can begin to start looking into sports scholarships?

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