Youth Sports: What’s in it for mom?

imageYou have a great opportunity when your child commits to playing youth sports. Sure it’s a big deal for your child; but I am talking about you! Take this opportunity to build something special around your children; just make sure that there is something in there for you as well.

I know that in your busy world that there is the temptation of taking advantage of a relatively inexpensive baby-sitting service provided by your child’s coaches. Please don’t fall prey to settling for just babysitting! You are already putting forward some effort just getting them to games and practices. With a little more planning and effort you can enjoy the satisfaction of building your own little sports “franchise” in the comfort of your own home.

The Foundation

Let me suggest a few parameters in building your franchise. The goal is to build a sporting environment that promotes fun, learning and inclusion; and that’s just for the parents! Having your child in a youth sports program is not a chore; it is an opportunity to build an atmosphere of learning, problem solving, teamwork and socialization. All of this occurs while accomplishing something very important; entertaining and educating the adults!

The Opportunities

The management of your franchise is all about “staffing”. Here is a brief overview of the opportunities that are available. The more of these jobs you can fill, the more fulfilling your experience will be. Remember the overriding goal of your franchise is to change a “chore” into an “event”.

Transportation Director- it is hard to make this a glamorous job. It is more to it than being on time. A great transportation director can not only give the final pep talk during the trip to the game but can also easily switch into carpool mode when needed. Driving a properly equipped vehicle is a must as well. I have always admired parents that tool around in vehicles that never lack for a vital piece of equipment that might be in demand. Who wouldn’t admire the parent that always has the extra coffee, lounge chair or even a copy of the morning paper? By the way, the ability to transform the “team” vehicle into business mode for the next business day is also a coveted skill. Now we are talking about real world adult skills!

Equipment Manager- This is crucial position. Never under estimate the affirming qualities of a great pair of shoes (you notice that I don’t list a “financial director” in my franchise). While you are in the shoe department anyway; buy some nice looking shoes for everyone! Manage your time wisely. If you quickly buy the cool sports equipment that your kids want, there is more time for you to try on that cute tennis outfit you saw on the way into the store. Remember; make it an event! Never waste a trip to the store on just buying stuff for the kids.

Sports Nutritionist- Trust me when I tell you that much of what adult athletes know about healthy eating started when they were first introduced to the concept of a pre-game meal. Please introduce this to your children as soon as it is practical to do so. Do your research about what foods to serve your athlete for both the pre-game and post game routines. By the way Mom, prepare that food for you as well. After all isn’t every day “game day” for parents? Formal meals aside, there is a common mistake to be avoided at all costs. When you are the “snack buddy” do not give the kids fruit and carrot sticks. Whatever nutritional value you will introduce to the team will be offset by the stigma of being “that Mom”. Leave the healthy eating at home and spring for some Ho-Hos and goofy juice.

Research Analyst- Learn your child’s sport! I am not big on learning sports from a book, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what people are clapping (or gasping) about? There are great books out there. Please make it your mission to step up your level as your child does. Imagine the thrill of actually knowing what you are seeing when watching the Super Bowl. Your young football player gives you a chance to do that. Personally I never appreciated Olympic gymnastics until my girls took it up. The same applied for ballet (cough cough)!

Promotional Director- Sometimes you need to coax your children to give a sport a chance. Put the pep talk on hold! Instead take full advantage of the social element of youth sports. The other kids all have parents; get to know them! You need them! If playing a sport to your child means “pizza after the game” then by all means make the other likeable parents on your team party to your little scheme.

It is just that social savvy that will prepare you for future challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as your child grows and develops as an athlete. After all, why not grow with your child? My hope is that you will one day reach the pinnacle of sports parenting; Team Mom; the Holy Grail of youth sports power and influence!

Enjoy the game.

About the Author

Gary Criswell has coached and officiated multiple years in youth sports while making football his main focus. That has led him to coaching positions at the high school, college and Arena football level. “Coach Criz” currently is in his 14th year of broadcasting High School Football (Sports Radio 910). He also currently serves as the color analyst for football and basketball for the Virginia State Trojans for WVST FM and Campus TV.

Kate Hall

Kate Hall is the Founder & CEO of and author of Richmond Rocks ,a history book for kids. She has three children and a cup that overfloweth. She is truly appreciative of the 100,000 + visitors who visit the blog every year, and for the amazing team of writers who create unique, valuable content. Kate is thrilled to fulfill her dream of having a cool place for Richmond, VA parents to learn, grow, and share while supporting local charities.

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