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How to Be a Good Sports Parent

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Overinvolvement

Let's go to the replay: Your daughter's busted her hump during volleyball tryouts, arriving first and leaving last each day. She's confident she has performed well. On the afternoon the teams are announced, she storms into the house sobbing. She was cut. Before she can reach for the tissue box, you're on the phone with the athletic director demanding a reversal of the decision.

Breakdown the penalty: A child's lack of success is not fatal -- for you or for her. Nor does it signify that something needs fixing. "It's common for moms and dads to have continuing doubts as to whether they are good enough parents," says Alvin Rosenfeld, MD, coauthor of The Over-Scheduled Child (St. Martin's Press). This fear drives many parents to micromanage, even though it's unhelpful for kids in the long run.

Your winning new move: Sit with your daughter and have her write a list of questions for the coach. Tell her not to be accusatory but to ask what skills she could improve on. Of course, when that rare, dangerous, or sketchy situation demands your involvement, Jim Bloch, athletic director of New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois, reminds parents: "First find the source closest to the situation -- the coach or the teacher. Don't start with the superintendent, principal, or athletic director."