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CD Teaches Parents to Be Good Sports

Posted - Sep 6th, 2006 @ 6:19pm



Shelley Osterloh Reporting

If you've ever gone to a kids' sports game you've probably seen some over-enthusiastic parents yelling at their child or arguing with a coach. A widely distributed video of a parent going crazy and racing across the field to push a child down at a California football game shows the problem of over-involved parents, and that guy was also the assistant coach.

How do you become a good sports parent? The United States Ski Team and the US Swim Team have joined forces to educate parents and coaches.

Children learn a lot from sports -- how to win, lose, set goals, develop self discipline, play fair and work as a team --- so many important lessons for life. Most parents want their child to do well and enjoy sports, but when does being supportive become pushy? The US Ski team and the US Swim team have teamed up to produce an educational interactive CD for parents, coaches and clubs.

It's hosted by Deborah Phelps a Maryland middle school principal and mother of swimmer and six time Olympic Gold medalist Michael Phelps. David McCann, who helped develop the CD, says they've compiled a wealth of information from parents and experts,

David McCann, USSA Dir. of Educational Services: "There's a lot of handouts checklists, a lot of great interviews with successful athletes and parents that shows what happens when they do things properly."

Among the 50 interviews with elite athletes, coaches and parents are Marni and Kent Schlopy of Park City -- parents of Alpine Skier and Three time Olympian Erik Schlopy.

Kent Schlopy: "It takes a huge commitment to help an athlete get to whatever level he or she is capable of attaining. So parents go thru a period of thrills agony, time commitment, financial commitment."

Marni Scholpy: "They are committed, they get wound up in results and you have to step back and realize it's, you want to be safe and fun and if the results come, great."

Information for parents includes how to provide balance and support, understanding children's growth, development and well-being; how parents can work with officials and coaches and deal with conflict.

The CD has a list of do's and don'ts:

    Do provide love and support regardless of sport outcome
    Do hold your child accountable for poor behaviors
    Do be in control of your emotions.
    Don't exert pressure to win or treat your child differently if they win or lose.

"Successful Sports Parenting" means helping your child learn good life lessons while keeping the fun in sports.

The interactive CD called, "Successful Sports Parenting" also has hundreds of handouts for coaches and clubs to use for planning. It costs $40, a portion of which goes to support athletes on the USA Swim and Ski teams.

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