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How to Not Get Sucked into Youth Sports Negativity

By Janis Meredith, USA Football, 04/30/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Negativity is a powerful force; it’s not easy to keep from getting sucked into it. Parents, let’s start a positive movement in youth sports that eclipses the negativity. 

Have you ever sat in the stands watching your child play, when you start hearing the parents next to you complain about the coach, their child’s playing time, or the “blind officials”? The ugly side of youth sports has reared its head once again and negativity poisons what should have been a fun experience. Negativity in youth sports is everywhere. It may not be on every team, but if your child plays long enough, you will be exposed to it. The trick is not getting sucked into it. As a sports mom for 21 years and coach’s wife for 29, I’ve been through seasons when the negativity was rampant, and I have learned some strategic ways to not get sucked in.

Stay away from sympathy groups. Those parents gathered in clusters before, during and after the game complaining about the coach, bashing certain players and bemoaning their child’s lack of playing time are called sympathy groups.