I know that the EliteFTS.com website and article listings that I look forward to each and every Friday are usually reserved for strength and lifting as well as articles of an informative nature. However, I’m writing one myself from a different perspective.

I’m a powerlifter/strength trainee and trainer who has played many sports, some at very high levels—namely ice hockey and box lacrosse. But my journey into the sporting arena took me down a new path a few years ago when an organization asked me to coach their travel hockey team. I still thought of myself as a player, not a “coach,” but I was looking forward to it. I never knew what I was getting into…

The last sentence refers to sporting parents. I’ve coached each year of my young son’s sporting life. He’s eight-years-old. I’ve coached him since the age of three on the lacrosse floor and since the age of four on the hockey rink. I sat out this year’s lacrosse season due to other commitments, but this has given me a whole new perspective from the stands. I’ve never been in the stands as a parent because I have always been behind the bench volunteering for the kids. My new parent position affords me the look into some scary individuals who want blood, literally, from the opposing team of eight-year-olds.

Bear in mind, I’m only talking about a few select individuals here, but every team has them. The majority of sporting parents have a decent grasp on reality, but I will outline the ones who don’t. I will draw a line between the good and the bad, and I hope all can use this for their own future reference. Hopefully, if you have kids in sports or are a coach yourself, you can identify with the categories that follow.

The Good
Every mom:” This is the mom on the team who cheers for everyone. Regardless of the kids’ skill level or performance, she is there to yell encouragement or offer a pat on the head after the game is over. She always seems to know all of the kids’ names and numbers. She is the majority of sports’ moms and always has a good word to say regardless of the outcome of the competition. In addition, she is always in front when it comes to helping the team out or volunteering for additional functions. She earned this title because from an outsider’s view, she could be anyone of the player’s moms.

The good dad:” He has many of the traits and behaviors of the “every mom.” This dad is usually a former player of the game or coach of a sport himself. He knows that having fun and skill development at a young age are the most important things. He stresses the good and looks for lessons from mistakes. He says nothing to his kid on the way to or from the game or competition and is basically a driver at these times. He sits or stands in the audience and is virtually emotionless one way or the other. Regardless, he is proud of his child for his achievements and efforts.

The buddy:” He’s extremely positive and is a buddy to all the kids. He always greets the kids with a high five or fist bump. He cheers for everyone on the team to the point of excess. Most parents are glad to have him around for his positivism, but they wished he could keep it down a notch. He differs from good dad and every mom because he doesn’t always know each player’s name, but he does leave the coaching to the coaches. He’s also a friend to all of the parents on his team but is considered annoying by the opposing team’s parents due to his loud and overzealous cheering habits.

The Bad
The stands coach:” This is the parent who is constantly yelling instructions to his or her child, and it’s usually the opposite of what is being said to the player on the bench. If the coach tells the player to “stay at home on defense,” this parent is usually yelling for his son to rush the puck. This shows his lack of knowledge of the game or sport. The only thing accomplished by this parent is making his kid’s neck sore from constantly looking into the stands.

Roller coaster mom/dad:” These parents care way too much about how their kid performs. Their moods and emotions actually hinge on how well their child plays. If the child doesn’t perform up to their standards, they have a bad day and usually take it out on the kid. I once saw a dad who actually smacked his kid’s head into the plexiglass (kid had a helmet on) after what the dad deemed a sub par performance. These parents can also have attributes of a “stands coach.”

Superstar’s father:” This dad has been convinced since his child’s birth that his boy/girl is going to be the next “big thing” in their chosen sport. He usually forces his player to play the sport (often chosen by the dad because it’s his favorite and not the kid’s) year round and participate in high-level (and expensive) schools or camps to increase his child’s skill level. I once heard a dad tell another that he was sending his kid to a high-level hockey camp run by a certain NHL superstar who was 500 miles away and that they were staying on location for a month in a hotel for the summer. The same father also stated in a different conversation that if he “pays all this money now, he will reap it later as his son will get a scholarship down the road.” So while the nine-year-old kid’s friends are spending the summer out playing soccer, baseball, or lacrosse, the boy is in the middle of nowhere with his dad attending a hockey camp.

Now, please bear in mind that this is just a general observation, and not every sporting parent falls into the above categories. Most of the parents who enroll their kids in athletics are proud of their child and enjoy watching them have fun at whatever sport they are participating in. Almost all parents are grateful individuals who appreciate the fact that someone has stepped up to coach and volunteer their time to help the kids. There are also those who think they can do better but for some reason never take the step to volunteer.
Coaches should be appreciated because they are volunteers and do take the time and enjoy teaching the kids a sport or activity. I know a few fellow lifters and strength trainers who coach youth sports as well as their own hobbies. It is very rewarding and is their way of giving back to the sporting world. I’m sure in the gym we have all been coached or do coach some fellow lifters, so take it one step further and volunteer for your local youth baseball, soccer, or football teams. It will be worth your while.