Sports Parenting: A Parent’s Role in Raising Athletes in Today’s Youth Sports Culture-Part II

Guest Post by Brie Isaacson

In continuation of Part I:  A Parent’s Role in Raising Athletes in Today’s Youth Sports Culture, here are the last two “pieces of the puzzle” for parents of young athletic offspring.

Middle Phase – Middle School Aged Children

  • Effort and Attitude are the most important!  It is the only thing day in and day out that the athlete can control.
  • Confidence – To feel comfortable making an aggressive play even though it may not produce the end result we are hoping for.
  • Support – A continued overall acceptance regardless of a child’s performance.  As long as the child gives their best effort that is all we can ask for.
  • Encouragement – There will always be good days and bad days. Such is life.
  • Good Sportsmanship – The players need it against ALL opponents and parents need it in the stands.  At all levels, this will be tested.
  • Patience – View success based on progress, not wins and losses.
  • Leadership – A necessary skill for athletes in any sport.
  • Persistence – There is always a way.
  • Trust – Trust the experience of the coach. They have been here before.
  • Time Management – Athletes need to know what time things begin and when they are expected to be there.  Details are important.
  • Teammates – Encouraging athletes to support all members of the team, very little is possible without them in a team sport.
  • Commitment – Finish what you have started, those life lessons are invaluable.
  • Location – Find a team to play for that has a similar philosophy as you (this does not apply to school teams since they are based on where you live).  Try and find this early so you don’t have to jump from place to place.
  • Respect – For the game, the athletes who play it, the coaches who coach it and the officials, referees and umpires who control the game.

Late Phase – High School and College Aged Children

  • Be Realistic – There is no perfect child out there.
  • Acceptance – Each athlete will have a role that the coach feels best for not only the athlete but the team as well.  Some roles will be bigger than others but essentially they are all important.
  • Relationship – The athlete needs to develop a respectful relationship with the coach.  This will allow them to communicate regarding missed practices and opportunities for more play time.  The solution lies with both of them.
  • Good Sportsmanship – (I am saying it again.) The players need it against ALL opponents and parents need it in the stands. At all levels, this will be tested.
  • Trust – Trust the experience and knowledge of the coach.  No one will do it exactly as we would but most coaches are committed to challenging the athlete while making the experience positive.
  • Lombardi Time – Be there 15 minutes early and ready to go.  “The will to win is important but the will to prepare is vital”.
  • Refuse to quit – If you are not getting what you want, fight for it.  Don’t spend time complaining or blaming things you can’t control.  If more play time is wanted, practice harder and put in extra repetitions.
  • Leadership – Continuing to lead by example and finding a way to work together with different people towards a common goal.
  • Respect – For the game, the athletes who play it, the coaches who coach it and the officials, referees and umpires who control the game.

As I reflect back on the stages above I am forced to realize that following these steps does not ensure our children a long and successful athletic career.  Each child will develop differently.  No matter how much we want it for them, we as parents are only a part of the development.  Essentially it’s up to the athlete to achieve them.  With the right support system, we allow our children to have the best experience possible.  At the end of the day if we teach our kids to give their best in anything and everything they do we have given them the chance to be great!  That life lesson will carry with them beyond the athletic arena.


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  • Very good article - especially poignant in today's world of travel sports and the desire of parents to give their athletes the best opportunity to succeed. This should be a poster!

  • In reply to skyny:

    Thanks for taking the time to read the article skyny! Our kids grow so fast I just hope more people can slow down and enjoy the sports journey with their children! It's gone before we know it! Just ask Kirk Mango about that one ;)

  • In reply to Brie Isaacson:

    That's for sure Brie. I blinked my eyes as my kids went from youth sport participants through high school and college sports and were done. Wow, amazingly fast. Man, I just loved watching them play, stair down the adversity they faced, and learn from those lessons. Simply awesome to watch!!!

  • Thanks so much for the comment skyny. Brie is an excellent and knowledgeable coach. Had the wonderful opportunity of having her as my daughters coach. Helped her grow tremendously as a person. It is one of the many reasons I asked her to write some guest posts whenever she has time, four kids’ keeps her very busy.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to post a comment, and feel free to peruse my blog for other interesting/informative articles for athletes, coaches, and parents.


    Becoming a True Champion
    Book Website

  • In reply to Kirk Mango:

    Mr. Mango, I couldn't agree more with your comments about Brie! Throughout my experience with Brie; once playing for her and now coaching with her, I have learned not only how to be a better coach but also to be a better person! Her article is something that should be passed out to parents when first enrolling their children in sports! ;) Great article Brie!

  • In reply to Pollard:

    Agree totally!!! And yes parents, coaches, and athletes should read this piece (as well as many others on this blog). It would be beneficial for sure!!!

    Thanks for chiming in Sara!!!



  • Outstanding! I have had the pleasure of coaching with Brie for a few years now, and I can truly say she is one of the best around. We have had many conversations about coaching, about family, and about life’s lessons and I agree with what she states in this article. We have very similar philosophies about coaching and parenting and though we may go about them in different ways, the end result is the same. I have learned so much from her and I believe that many coaches, athletes, and their parents will get a lot out of reading this article. I look forward to reading the next one.
    Thanks for dropping some knowledge on us Brie!!!

  • In reply to Jamsvb4:

    Dang, I knew Brie would be a great addition to the blog, and would put material out there that would benefit many, but I didn't realize how many of her staff would chime in.

    If that doesn't say a lot about her ability as a coach, and personality, I don't know what does.

    Yep, agree 100%, great article. Looking forward to her next. I think I am going to have to get her a password so she can post as much and whenever she wants.

    Thanks for your comment Jamsvb4!!!

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    Excellent article, once again!! I, too, have had the wonderful opportunity to coach with Brie!! I have learned a tremendous amount about the game, about the players, and about the parents, working with Brie! She truly hit all the areas right on the head!! All parents and coaches must read this!! I am sending the link to all my parents!! Awesome job!!

  • In reply to Marcia Kartch Malek:

    Thanks for commenting Marcia. Stop by again soon, lots of stuff here for coaches, parents, and athletes!!!


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    TImely. Many parents struggle with what their role is as the passion for youth sports increases. Perhaps you could take your knowledge and experience on the road and speak to families across the nation. Or just forward your blog to everyone in the country... whatever is easier for you. :-)

  • In reply to Joel Anderson:

    Very true Joel. And I do, do inspirational speaking for athletes, coaches, and parents. Should probably bring Brie with me :-)!!! Great coach, great person!!!

    Here is the link to my book/speaking website if you are interested:

    Thanks for posting a comment. And come back soon, Brie will be posting something here as the need arises.


    Becoming a True Champion
    Book Website

  • Reading this article was like a journey back in time. As parents of two very passionate athletes, this article hits the mark. We enjoyed every minute of the time our children played sports and watched them grow and improve. We did our best to guide them, and while it was not always easy, we let them be independent and make their own choices. We have seen the results of an athletic background in the development and success of our children as they became adults. The support of the parents is so important as they go through that period of their lives. The time does go by so fast, so it’s really important to enjoy every minute of it. Great article!

  • In reply to Diane:

    Hey Diane,

    Thanks for posting a comment. And, like you, I feel the same way about how fast the time went, the lessons that were learned, and the experiences my kids have. They will draw upon them for a lifetime.



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