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How to Be a Good Sports Parent

Living Vicariously

Let's go to the replay: It's the bottom of the ninth and your daughter's up to bat. You've prepared her for this moment with 6,000 of your curveballs in the backyard. Then she swings at a ball so far outside it whizzes by the catcher's outstretched mitt. You leap from your seat. "C'mon!" When she strikes out you fall into a humiliated heap.

Breakdown the penalty: Your child's sports participation is not about you. Period. "Parents lose perspective," says Wolff. This is no small issue. "The biggest athletic stress on kids comes from their parents pressuring them to be outstanding players," says Fred Engh, author of Why Johnny Hates Sports (SquareOne).

Your winning new move: "If your child is smiling and having fun, your job as a sports parent is to find a seat, sit down ,and be quiet," says Daniel L. Wann, PhD, a member of the Executive Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Youth Sports. For added insurance, ask one of the calmer parents to quietly tap you on the back when you're starting to go over the top.