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How to Be a Good Sports Parent

That's not you screaming from the sidelines, saying all the wrong things on the way home from practice and generally behaving badly, is it? Nah. But just in case, we've got five ways parents can get a grip before they spoil their kids' fun.
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Postgame Analysis

Let's go to the replay: Your daughter is the best dribbler on her team. Yet she's also a basketball black hole -- once the Spalding falls into her hands it's never coming out. With the best intentions, you pull her aside after the game to offer your advice: "Pass the ball!"

Breakdown the penalty: Teaching her to be a thoughtful teammate is good, but remember: "Kids have a short attention span," says Rick Wolff, coauthor of Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way (Gotham). "Thirty seconds after the game she's thinking about homework or friends or what's for dinner." The last thing she wants is a verbal report card from you.

Your winning new move: After the team handshake simply say, "Great job!" When the uniform's safely in the washer's spin cycle at home, offer her a "praise sandwich," says Wolff. "Tell her that she's an awesome ball handler. Then offer constructive criticism ('When you get double-teamed pass to an open teammate'). Finally, give the other side of the sandwich ('When you move the ball you're unstoppable')." You've made your point, and there's not a tear or slammed door in the house.