Parents on the Field: Volunteering
Your Time in Team Sports
As a team parent, Cook recommends the following:
- Give a courtesy call to the snack parent the day before they are scheduled to bring snack.
- Encourage all parents to bring their child to picture day, even if they will not be purchasing a team picture (many teams provide this to each player via team funds).
- Ensure that all parents have a schedule of practice sessions and games.
- Plan a unique season-end party. Most teams end the season with a pizza party. Other ideas are a swim party, a meal at a buffet, a skate party, hayride or hot dog cookout.
- Season-end parties should include siblings as well as parents. Collect additional funds from each family if necessary.
- Make sure each team member's name is spelled correctly on his or her trophy.Order trophies one month prior to the presentation date.
- Remember that awarding a "Most Valuable Player" award can leave some children feeling left out.
- Carry a clipboard to all practices/games and have extra copies of the schedules and other team info. Somebody always has a question.
For the more adventurous, there's always a need for volunteer coaches. Even if your knowledge of a sport is limited to "The ball goes that way," most team organizations offer informative training sessions for anyone willing to donate their valuable time toward a good cause. If taught the right way, the benefits a child gets out of team sports are sportsmanship, teamwork, new friendships, a healthy atmosphere and a good time!
"The very fact that parents are willing to give their valuable time to assist with their child's team sports is in itself not a very good example unless they are also willing to put aside their own ego and not live vicariously through their child," says Sandy Caplinger, a regional commissioner for AYSO in Running Springs, Calif. "If the above can be accomplished and the parent displays positive mannerisms and promotes good sportsmanship, then the child will remember this and be thankful throughout their entire life."