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Parents want what’s best for their children and to see them succeed, and that’s especially true when it comes to sports. We want to see our kids excel on the field and make the most of their athletic experiences, but sometimes it’s easy for our passion to get out of hand. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being your child’s biggest fan, but putting too much pressure or micromanaging their athletic experience can actually rob them of the benefits of playing a sport.

If you want to be involved in your child’s athletic experience but not undermine the lessons they learn or the fun that they have, take a look at some of the best ways parents can be supportive of their student athletes!

Encourage Academics

There’s a reason players are called student-athletes and not “athlete-students”: Academics, not athletics, should come first. With that in mind, one of the best ways that you can support your athlete is to make sure they stay focused on their grades as well as their performance on the field.

Watch Out for their Health

It’s easy for your athlete to push themselves to play harder, but in doing so, it’s easy for them to overlook the intense strain they put on their bodies and minds. As a parent, you’re in a position to keep an eye on their well-being and ensuring your athlete is taking care of himself or herself. Encourage them to eat a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, as well as drinking water and getting plenty of rest. It is even more important that as a parent you don’t find yourself pushing your child harder than they want to push. It’s one thing to make them fulfill their obligation to a sport by not letting them quit every time they have a hard day. But let your child develop their love for the sport. It’s easier to hold them back because they want to do more than it is to push them too hard and then find out they can’t wait to quit.

Help Build Character

Coaches help to develop your athlete on the field, but you can help to develop their sense of sportsmanship and character after they’ve untied their cleats. While their coach helps them to work on their corner kicks or free throws, you can help them to learn important lessons like having fun even during a loss, being a team player, discipline and hard work, and more.

Make Sports Fun!

Studies have shown again that the number one reason why kids choose to play sports is because they’re fun, so make sure that your athlete is having a positive experience on the field! As a parent, be relaxed and don’t scream and shout during your child’s games, let them know that you don’t care if they win or lose, and don’t try to micromanage their experience.