Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers Seems To “Understand” Good Sports Parenting

Ever wonder what it might be like to have been an elite level athlete (National, Olympic, or professional caliber) and then be the father of an athlete with similar possibilities? Ever think how a parent with that level of expertise would parent their own, should parent their own?

Would their parenting style be all that different than certain others? I mean, would they be more inclined to jumping up and down at games, yelling “terrible call” at refs, meeting with their son or daughter at half-time to discuss ways to improve in the next half, pressuring coaches to play their “kid” more, place them in player positions the parent (or their athlete) wants to play, or actually try “coaching” the team from the stands?

Well, look no further than Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, father to highly-skilled Duke freshman point guard Austin Rivers, for the “right” answers to those questions.

Highlighted in the article, Doc’s self-prognosis: Proud parent by Steve Bulpett (at, Doc’s parenting style is one worth examining. With several quotes throughout the article (from Rivers himself) that support the idea of simply enjoying and having fun just watching your kids play sports, coach Rivers seems to epitomize the appropriate perspective all sports parents should aspire to.

In fact, the following quote from him regarding his parenting had me grinning ear to ear:

“It’s not hard… I give advice when asked. I’m a big believer in letting the coaches coach them and let the parent be the parent. And I have strong opinion about that. I just think too many parents are involved in ways that sometimes make it harder. You can’t live through your kids. You’ve got to allow them to do well and make mistakes, too. You just have to try to always be there when they need to talk.”

That certainly says a lot coming from a former elite level professional athlete and current NBA coach. In my mind, his attitude and perspective (as displayed throughout Bulpett’s piece) will be of great benefit to his kids, no matter where their sports careers end up taking them.

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