英語:“The Best Way to Cheer for Your Child”

We’ve all read about parents who yell and get into fights at their children’s games. But how are parents supposed to behave on the sidelines? What type of cheering helps? What adds pressure? Is coaching from the sidelines ever OK?

Here are some ground rules.

Being a spectator is tough. Watching a child struggle can unleash parents’ competitiveness, or rekindle the pride or pain they once felt when playing sports in their youth. Many of the soccer, football, hockey and other programs starting up again this fall are costly and time-consuming, making it harder to stay calm if your child doesn’t try hard or a coach seems misguided.

Coaches say it is best for parents to set aside emotion and ego, watch the game closely, avoid shouting criticism or instructions from the sidelines and cheer for the whole team, not just their own child.

Kimberly Atnip of Wardsville, Mo., gets excited when she watches her three sons, ages 7, 9 and 14, play football. “It’s intense. Nobody likes to lose,” she says. However, she yells only positive encouragement from the sidelines, she says. “If a kid makes a mistake, you don’t need to call it out.”

She uses self-talk to stay calm. If her son doesn’t seem to be trying hard, she tells herself, “I don’t have fire and drive every day at my work either.” If the team falters, she thinks, “These are 14-year-old kids. They’re not going to play in the NFL.” She directs her sons toward other goals—bonding with teammates, learning to take coaching well and stretching their physical limits.

If other parents on her team lose control and start screaming, she tells them softly, “Calm down. It’s just a ballgame.” Other times, she says, she gets up and walks away. “It’s a reflection on the whole team when one parent is loud and obnoxious.”

Children and teens are embarrassed when parents yell or single out their own child with loud cheers, according to a 2011 study of 57 players ages 7 to 14 published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Even seemingly encouraging cheers, such as “Come on, you can do it!” can imply criticism to players that they’re not doing their best, says the study, led by Jens Omli, an instructor of kinesiology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Children often connect parents’ attitude about their sports performance to their value as a person, says Bruce E. Brown, a teacher, coach and director of Proactive Coaching, a training firm in Camano Island, Wash. They think parents who yell instructions from the sidelines believe children can’t figure out what to do on their own, Mr. Brown says. Hurling insults at the ref teaches children it is OK to challenge authority.

Criticizing a child’s teammate suggests it is OK for a child to dump on teammates too. Some 23% of 400 sports parents surveyed in 2013 by i9 Sports, Riverview, Fla., a youth-sports league franchiser, said they or their children had been excluded socially because the kids weren’t as good as other players.

Self-control is tough for parents who “are confused about what the goal is” in youth sports, says Jim Thompson, founder of the Positive Coaching Alliance in Mountain View, Calif., a nonprofit that trains 100,000 coaches a year. “The goal is to develop better athletes and better people, and trying to win is part of that,” he says. “If your definition of success is that your kid’s team wins and your kid plays fantastically, you’re going to be disappointed a lot of the time.”

In the stands, Mr. Thompson adds, “no sports parent has a totally positive experience. And most parents don’t feel like they have any power, any control.”

Many parents get angry because they think their children are being treated unfairly or carelessly by officials, coaches or other players, according to another study led by Mr. Omli, a survey of 773 parents published in 2012 in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

Others erupt with unresolved frustration or anger over their own childhood sports experiences, says Luis Fernando Llosa, co-author of “Beyond Winning,” a 2013 book on improving the experience of youth sports. A man who hated the pressure he faced as a child from a hypercompetitive father might unwittingly pressure his son in the same ways, because that is the behavior he knows. Mr. Llosa advises parents to recall their own “sports biographies” and think about what parts are worth passing on.

(c) WSJ










スポーツ研究専門誌「Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport」に掲載された論文によると、子ども(7~14歳)を対象に2011年に行った調査で、親が大声を上げたり、自分の子に向けて大きな声援を送ったりすると、子どもは恥ずかしく思うことが分かっている。この論文によると、「行け!お前ならできる」など、励ましているように聞こえる声援でさえ、批判を暗示する場合がある。お前はベストを尽くしていないという批判だ。この研究は、カリフォルニア・ポリテクニック州立大学のイェンス・オムリ講師(運動生理学)が中心となって行った。




前出のオムリ氏が率いた別の研究によると、自分の子がスポーツ関係者、コーチおよび他の子から不平等ないしぞんざいに扱われたとして腹を立てる親は少なくない。773人の親を対象に行われたこの研究の結果は12年に「Journal of Applied Sport Psychology」に掲載された。

このほか、ユーススポーツの改善に関する書籍「Beyond Winning」の共著者であるルイス・フェルナンド・リョサ氏によると、自身の過去のスポーツ体験で解消されなかった不満や怒りを噴出させる親もいる。子どものときに、異常な競争心を持つ父親からプレッシャーをかけられていた男性は、意図せず自分の息子に同じことをしてしまうことがあるという。その男性はそういった行動しか知らないからだ。リョサ氏は、自分の「スポーツ歴」を思い返し、どの部分を子に受け継いでもらいたいかを考えるよう親に勧めている。

(c) WSJ