Between rides to frequent practices, individualized coaching sessions and transportation to out-of-town tournaments, parents have taken on a far greater role in the sports their children play in the past decade.
But as Bob McEwen, a coach and sports parent, opined recently: "Being a sports parent isn't all unicorns and rainbows. It's hard, hard work."
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So to ensure every child’s sports experience is a positive one—and to help sports parents avoid pulling their hair out—here are five books that offer support, guidance and advice to adults involved in youth sports programs. (Unicorns not provided.)
101 Ways to be a Terrific Sports Parent: Making Athletics a Positive Experience for Your Child
By Joel Fish with Susan Magee
A sports psychologist and father of three, Dr. Joel Fish assists parents in developing an understanding of the psychological issues associated with all ages and competitive levels of youth sports.
Not only does his book, 101 Ways to be a Terrific Parent, offer invaluable tips like how to encourage a love of the game and promote self-esteem, Fish’s attention to unique situations like single parenting and the parenting of superstar athletes ensures that this book will have something for everyone.
Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports
By Brooke C. De Lench
In Home Team Advantage, author Brooke C. De Lench empowers moms by eloquently describing how they can best make use of maternal gifts like empathy, instinct and patience to support their budding athletes, and how these qualities can be used to encourage competitiveness, leadership and drive.
Helpful advice on how to manage weekly practices, injury prevention and nutritional recommendations make this a must-read for mothers, grandmothers and female coaches.
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The Pitcher’s Mom
By Heather Choate Davis
From the first days of Little League all the way to the pros, The Pitcher’s Mom successfully exposes—some good, some bad—the events that transpire when a kid grows up to play professional baseball.
Using her own experiences as inspiration, author Heather Choate Davis uses a mother’s perspective to craft this fictional story of a young son’s journey toward his big league dreams.
Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills, and Inspire a Love of Sport
By Jack Perconte
Jack Perconte’s how-to guide for parents of young athletes offers invaluable advice on how to support and encourage athletes from every age and skill level.
Sections on how to foster important qualities like sportsmanship and leadership, as well as suggestions on how to avoid burnout or deal with bad coaches, are interweaved with Raising an Athlete's strongest message: Keep sports fun!
More: How to Improve a Young Athlete's Attitude
Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Child’s Fun and Success in Youth Sport
By Bob Bigelow
Written by one of the leading experts on youth sports in the country, Just Let the Kids Play makes a strong case for the restructuring of youth sports programs in America.
Author Bob Bigelow argues that the current high-pressure, win-at-all-costs approach is wrong for kids. His well-presented advice on how to organize a system of play that encourages kids to just have fun works to get parents, and coaches alike, to reflect on their current attitudes.
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