Adult behaviour at their children's sport's games is both fascinating and repelling. As I head off to soccer and then netball I will take this advice, with me (although it's not me who really needs it.)
Visiting American sports expert Bob Bigelow has a simple message for parents readying themselves to bark instructions from the sidelines this morning: "shut up".
I am one of the quieter parents confining my sporadic outbursts to to "Go, Go!" when a goal is imminent or "Get in there!" when my daughter seems to have momentarily forgotten she is on a field along with a ball and goalposts.
But there are plenty, a majority, of parents who do exactly what bothers Bob Bigelow. Sometimes when a child does register an instruction aimed at them, they stand stock still trying to process it. I notice that the "enthusiasm " of a parent can be inversely proportionate to the success of the child - although by no means always.
Then there is the PC dilemma (when isn't there one when it comes to being a parent today?) Should I be yelling encouragement for other children as much as my own? Post game, should I heap glowing praise on each and every member despite some clearly being better performers? You can end up monitoring your own performance as much as the players. So I've given up trying.
But maybe I should start screaming my lungs out. Because the $10 "reward" for scoring a goal isn't working. Or hasn't worked so far. In Sam's case, however, I suspect barracking would be as effective as bribery. Not at all.
She's having a great time though. The whole team are - nearly as good a time as their rowdy parents, warm and dry and full of running on the sidelines.
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