Athletic Recruiting Recruiting for Parents

Are Helicopter Sports Parents Ruining the Game?

Are Helicopter Parents Ruining the Game?


There are many, many amazingly supportive parents out there who sacrifice a lot so their son or daughter can play the sport they love. These parents are there to cheer on their athletes with positivity and pride. On the flip side, however, there are helicopter sports parents across the country–all over the world–who take their involvement in their son or daughter’s team way too far.

Whether you fall in the first category, or the second, it’s never too late to get better. Check out these three tips on how not to be a helicopter sports parent.

Do not call out your son or daughter’s coach about a play called or decision made during the game.

Not ever. Remember, coaches will have what’s best for the team on their mind. If it seems like that might not be the case, take time to think through your reaction, and what makes you question their motivation. At the very least, you’ll give yourself a chance not to react emotionally — and it’ll allow the coach to continue to focus on the team and competition at hand.

Really, anything other than positive cheering is not permitted at a game.

  • No negative words or gestures from the sidelines.
  • Do not talk about other players, parents, or the coach in any breath other than the upmost compliment.
  • Under no circumstances should you taunt the refs, the other team, or parents from the other team; if someone tries to engage with you, ignore them.

Leave the coaching to the coach, especially at home.

Your child loves you. They love playing sports. They love when you support them in their sport, and it’s important to support their coach, too.

Unless your son or daughter approaches you with a question or in need of advice or critique, don’t approach them unless it’s positive, like by saying “I love to watch you play.”

Remove “we” from your sports or recruiting vocabulary when talking about your son or daughter.

“We” aren’t going to college. “We” don’t have 3.2 GPA. “We” didn’t narrow our choices down to five schools.

Your child needs your support through the recruiting process. “It takes a village,” after all. But when it comes down to it, it’s your student-athlete who is going to college. Your student-athlete will need to be responsible for earning that GPA, passing the SAT/ACT with a certain score, or working hard enough in their sport to compete at the next level.

Whether it’s choosing to stay in state or skip the old man’s alma mater, make sure your student-athlete knows they have your help and support as they work toward becoming the best version of themselves they can be.

You don’t have to support your student-athlete by yourself. Our recruiting specialists are always here to answer your questions about your child’s journey and how you can encourage them to get to the next level. Get started with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Laura Chmiel

Laura Chmiel is a marketing coordinator and a lead writer for NCSA Athletic Recruiting. As someone with a passion for athletics and education, she graduated from Indiana university with a B.S. in Elementary Education. After school, she gained first-hand experience helping student-athletes and their families get to college.