Parent’s Code of Conduct

As a parent, I agree to receive the Sports Esteem Email Newsletter and to read the book Building All-Star Kids. During the season, I will:

  1. Emphasize fun. I will create a positive and fun environment for my child to promote life skills and good health.
  2. Not pressure my child to participate. I will help my child develop internal motivation and love of the game. I will not pressure my child into participating.
  3. Encourage learning and development. I will work to educate myself and my child about the game so that my child can get the best exposure to the sport.
  4. Emphasize fair play by the rules. I will always insist that my child plays fairly and by the rules.
    Help the coach achieve team goals. I will work with the coaches to help my child develop a mastery of the skills and an appreciation for team contributions. I will work to help the coach achieve the goals and objectives that have been defined for the team.
  5. Let the coach control the game. I will not yell instructions to my child from the sidelines or give my child instructions counter to the those of the coach.
  6. Express only positive comments and attitude. I will be a positive role model for my child. I will show emotional maturity by controlling my anger and never using obscene language or gestures. I will show a positive attitude toward the game and all its participants. I will not argue or yell about a referee’s call.
  7. Demonstrate good sportsmanship. I will treat everyone fairly and with respect. I will set high standards for my child to follow. I will respect the importance and contributions of volunteer coaches.

I have read and understand the above Code of Conduct and agree to follow its guidelines at all league activities. I understand that if I do not follow this Code of Conduct, I may be asked to leave the league activity (such as a game or practice) or I may be asked to withdraw my child from the league.

Player Name(s) (printed)
Parent Name (printed)
Parent Signature


Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports

A Report to the President From the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education


Our nations young people are, in large measure, inactive, unfit, and increasingly overweight. In the long run, this physical inactivity threatens to reverse the decades-long progress we have made in reducing death from cardiovascular diseases and to devastate our national health care budget. In the short run, physical inactivity has contributed to an unprecedented epidemic of childhood obesity that is currently plaguing the United States. The percentage of young people who are overweight has doubled since 1980.

Physical activity has been identified as one of our nations leading health indicators in Healthy People 2010, the national health objectives for the decade. Enhancing efforts to promote participation in physical activity and sports among young people is a critical national priority. That is why, on June 23, 2000, President Clinton issued an Executive Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education to work together to identify and report within 90 days on strategies to promote better health for our nations youth through physical activity and fitness. The President concluded his directive: “By identifying effective new steps and strengthening public-private partnerships, we will advance our efforts to prepare the nations young people for lifelong physical fitness.”

To increase their levels of physical activity and fitness, young people can benefit from

  • Families who model and support participation in enjoyable physical activity.
  • School programs – including quality, daily physical education; health education; recess; and extracurricular activities that help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, skills, behaviors, and confidence to adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles, while providing opportunities for enjoyable physical activity.
  • After-school care programs that provide regular opportunities for active, physical play.
  • Youth sports and recreation programs that offer a range of developmentally appropriate activities that are accessible and attractive to all young people.
  • A community structural environment that makes it easy and safe for young people to walk, ride bicycles, and use close-to-home physical activity facilities.
  • Media campaigns that help motivate young people to be physically active.


The following strategies are all designed to promote lifelong participation in enjoyable and safe physical activity and sports.

  1. Include education for parents and guardians as part of youth physical activity promotion initiatives.
    Help all children, from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, to receive quality, daily physical education.
  2. Help all schools to have certified physical education specialists; appropriate class sizes; and the facilities, equipment, and supplies needed to deliver quality, daily physical education.
  3. Publicize and disseminate tools to help schools improve their physical education and other physical activity programs.
  4. Enable state education and health departments to work together to help schools implement quality, daily physical education and other physical activity programs.
  5. Enable more after-school care programs to provide regular opportunities for active, physical play.
  6. Help provide access to community sports and recreation programs for all young people.
  7. Enable youth sports and recreation programs to provide coaches and recreation program staff with the training they need to offer developmentally appropriate, safe, and enjoyable physical activity experiences for young people.
  8. Enable communities to develop and promote the use of safe, well-maintained, and close-to-home sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle paths, trails, parks, recreation facilities, and community designs featuring mixed-use development and a connected grid of streets.
  9. Implement an ongoing media campaign to promote physical education as an important component of a quality education and long-term health.
  10. Monitor youth physical activity, physical fitness, and school and community physical activity programs in the nation and each state.


Full implementation of the strategies recommended in this report will require the commitment of resources, hard work, and creative thinking from many partners in federal, state, and local governments; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector. Only through extensive collaboration and coordination can resources be maximized, strategies integrated, and messages reinforced. Development or expansion of a broad, national coalition to promote better health through physical activity and sports is an important first step toward collaboration and coordination. A foundation to support the promotion of physical activity could complement the work of the coalition and play a critical role in obtaining the resources needed to help our young people become physically active and fit. The 10 strategies and the process for facilitating their implementation described in this report provide the framework for our children to rediscover the joys of physical activity and to incorporate physical activity as a fundamental building-block of their present and future lives.

Managing Your Childs Development

Just as children bring home homework that is beyond what a parent can help with, so young athletes often progress beyond the abilities of a parent. If the problem is not addressed, young players’ frustration at their own lack of progress may increase until the solution is to quit sports altogether. Fortunately, like in school, there are a variety of experts to help with almost every aspect of physical, skill and strategy development.

Teaching, whether in school or in sports, works best when parents respect the role of the educator but stay involved with monitoring progress and results. Though they may not be able to help directly, parents still have a large role to play in selecting and overseeing these experts. Whether a player is 5 or even 15 years old, parents should:

  1. Ask if their child wants help. Kids will apply themselves only if they are motivated to learn. Forcing instruction on a child with limited interest will have little benefit.
  2. Locate instructors who like instructing. Not all instructors have the same passion for teaching the same subject over and over. Only instructors who enjoy seeing another’s progress can teach enthusiastically.
  3. Watch to determine if the instruction is organized. Spending time with a student is not the same as instructing. Parents should notice how the practice is organized and if the practice builds on previous lessons.
  4. Remain open to all areas of instruction. Sometimes, a problem is caused by a breakdown in a more fundamental area and won’t improve until the fundamental issue is resolved.
  5. Expect results over time. One lesson is not going to make a major impact on a child’s performance. If a child wants and enjoys the instruction and the instructor is enthusiastic and organized, then lessons will help over time though it may be weeks or months before results can be observed.

It is never too early or too late to consider expert help. Especially with younger children, lessons can improve a child’s confidence and dramatically increase the enjoyment and love of the sport. Lessons give younger kids the opportunity to develop proper technique and good habits that allow them to develop faster than other kids who must unlearn self-taught approaches. Finding instructors who can teach fundamental skills in a fun way allows parents to increase the odds of their child playing longer in organized sports.

With older children, private instruction becomes essential for developing the specialization required to compete. Parents need to seek out instructors who have specific expertise in teaching a particular skill. It is not unusual for older athletes to have multiple instructors who focus on both sport specific and general athletic issues, such as strength or stamina.

Private instruction is not inexpensive and parents should be careful not to look at the associated costs as something that will have a payback in the sporting world. As with all youth sporting costs, parents should expect their investments to be repaid not in sports performance but in the life lessons that can be learned through sports activities. The time and costs of youth sports are ultimately investments in better kids, not in better athletes.

Choosing Sports Heroes

When parents hear their child compared to professional athletes, they hope to hear that their child has the moves of Wayne Gretzky or the arm of Brett Favre. Parents don’t really want to learn that their child has the manners of Dennis Rodman or the easygoing nature of John McEnroe. Not all comparisons to professional athletes are intended as compliments.

It is easy for kids to admire professional athletes who stand out in their sport. This admiration often takes the form of “hero worship” and gives kids someone to mimic in their path to adulthood. Just like their heroes, most kids can easily see themselves making the winning score or receiving the praise and lifestyle that comes with success. Many parents encourage this behavior through buying jerseys and seeking autographs.

Professional sports are a form of entertainment just like television programs. Like actors and actresses, professional athletes become celebrities and gain additional exposure for the things they do away from the game – blurring the line between performance and lifestyle. Parents can’t always control what kids know about their favorite players. As personal celebrity becomes intermixed with professional accomplishment, kids can begin to mimic an athlete’s personal actions and mannerisms as well as an athlete’s professional skill. Kids can become confused about what it is they are trying to imitate.

However, as recent news accounts only reconfirm, professional athletes do not always make the best role models. A professional player’s conduct away from the game is often unknown. Most fans do not really know a player’s morals, ethics, work habits and respect for teammates or for fans. Thus, most parents do not really know if they want their child to grow up mimicking the life choices of a specific professional athlete.

For kids who want heroes and parents who want role models, there can be conflict. One way around this conflict is for parents to begin distinguishing between admiration for a player’s abilities and admiration for a player. For example, saying that a professional player is a great athlete is different than saying a professional player is a great person. Parents can help focus their children’s attention on players whose community actions are admirable even if the player’s game actions are not at the superstar level. Helping kids understand the difference between a player as a person and a player as an athlete is the key to providing the right role models to children.

Opportunities in Hockey After High School

From a report by Al Bloomer… 

“When it comes to choosing options for their hockey future, I am continually troubled by how poorly prepared and uninformed many players and their parents are. Answers can be found if you know where to look. The challenge is to be realistic about your hockey abilities and pro-active when planning your hockey future. As your skills develop to the higher levels, you begin to think about your options. I believe parents and players should begin to think seriously about hockey opportunities when the player is 12 to 14 years old. This is not the forum to debate when a player’s hockey potential can be evaluated or predicted. Although there may be optimism concerning potential when players are 12 and under, their potential cannot be realistically evaluated until they reach the age of maturity. All have dreams and expectations – but players and parents need to make informed and realistic decisions.”

Download the Full Report Here

The information here is useful to hockey players but much also applies to any kid looking to play sports past high school.

What to do When Your Child Doesn’t Hustle?

Sooner or later, every parent will have to face the perceived shame and humiliation caused by a child who didn’t “hustle” during a game. Most of the other parents will be polite and say things like “Is you child feeling okay?” or “Hope everything is okay at home.” Some parents will suggest private lessons or maybe even other teams to play on, but most will be quiet and avoid direct eye contact. When this happens, parents can either put on a brave face and laugh off the comments, or just pretend to be on their cell phone while quickly walking their five year old to the car. When confronted with too much shame and humiliation, parents quit youth sports and never return.

WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! – Parents aren’t quitting youth sports in record numbers, kids are. The last count was more than 70% by age 13. Shame and humiliation may have their place in a corporate financial scandal but they have no place in youth sports. Kids are not always going to play a good game and parents may want to talk with them about their “hustle”. But, before getting into that discussion, parents need to remember that a lack of hustle may actually be things that they cause or influence. For example:

  • Were there external distractions such as problems at school or with friends or siblings?
  • Were there physical influences such as an illness, lack of proper nutrition or insufficient rest?
  • Is there a diminished lack of interest in the sport caused by burnout or a lack of time for other activities?
  • Is physical conditioning in areas such as stamina or strength adequate for playing an entire game?
  • Does a lack of fundamental skills hinder more advanced play?
  • Is there a good understanding of strategy and positioning so that a young player knows how to react in specific situations?
  • Is the child playing at the right level of competition? Playing with kids who are much more or much less talented can be demoralizing and slow improvement.

These issues are also why it can be so harmful to yell “hustle” from the sidelines. Children can instantly understand if their parents are upset, but may not think through whether they were adequately prepared with things like rest, proper nutrition and instruction. Kids may even come to believe they are not “hustlers” and may slow down in other areas of their life due to lowered self-esteem.

Yelling “hustle” is a simple response to something that has many causes. If it is not clear what the problem is, parents should have a positive conversation with their child or with the coach to better identify the problem and the corrective actions necessary. Most of all, parents must be patient. Sports is a learned activity and requires time to master. The age of the player and the length of time between events give parents plenty of opportunity to get to the heart of a hustle problem.

The Fear of Failure is Often Worse than Failure Itself

Whether parents put pressure on their kids or not, kids will put pressure on themselves. This pressure can lead to fears that if not handled properly will lead to poor performances and potentially a greater fear of failure. Helping young players understand and deal with fear and anxiety assists kids not only in sports but also in all areas of life.

Failure and fear do not have to go together. Failure is result of trying something and not succeeding. Fear comes from dreading the consequences of failure. Helping kids separate these concepts assists kids in keeping fear in perspective. Some ways that parents can help kids deal with fear include:

  • Guarantee Love – Make sure that kids know that parental pride comes from the attempt and not from the outcome. If kids know they will have parental support regardless of the outcome, they are more likely to take chances and risk failure.
  • Explain that Failure is a Result of Trying – When kids do not try, they do not fail. If parents are going to encourage their children to try new things, they are also encouraging them to fail. Not all new things will result in first time success.
  • Remind that Failure and Success are not Permanent – Failing or being successful today do not guarantee like outcomes in the future. In fact, many future successes start with today’s failures.

Kids are often fearful because they lack experience and dread the unknown of failure. When parents help their kids think through these unknowns, they are equipping them with the understanding to overcome this lack of experience.

Getting Your Kids Off to a Good Start

The first few weeks that kids spend playing a new sport often determines how long they will continue. If the first few weeks are fun, then kids will stay with it. If not, kids will quit and find other ways to spend their time. Parents can help get their kids off to a good start by following these simple tips:

  • Get Instruction in Advance – Part of the fun that kids derive from sports comes from the confidence they gain by performing at a level comparable or above that of their friends. A few private lessons before the first practice from a knowledgeable friend or instructor can help kids start with confidence. While parents can sometimes fill this role, kids often listen better to another adult. If possible, parents should get instruction for their child from someone else and then be ready to help out afterwards with additional practice.
  • Attend the First Practices and Games – Parents can show their support for new activities by taking time to attend the first team events. These events provide parents a good chance to watch their kids learning new skills and interacting with friends. If kids don’t know many of the other kids and are shy, parents should consider helping their kids get acquainted with the other players.
  • Be Generous with Praise and Encouragement – It is unlikely that the first time kids participate in a new sport that they will excel. Parents may have to be creative in their compliments, but parental praise is an important part of process. Praising a child’s effort, listening, participation and outgoing actions are just as valid as praising a child’s skill.
  • Don’t Give Criticism or Correction – It will be tempting for parents to point out areas of improvement for their child. Especially during the first few weeks, this should be avoided to the extreme. Parents should let the coach work with their child to improve skills. There is plenty of time to fix skill problems if kids enjoy playing.
  • Provide Extra Time Before and After Practices – One of the biggest benefits for kids playing sports is the opportunity to spend more time with friends. Arriving immediately before and leaving right after a practice or game don’t give kids time to enjoy this benefit. Parents should be prepared to arrive early and then stay late in order to give their kids the chance for more socialization.

Getting kids started on the right foot in sports is not difficult but may require some patience. At any age, there is always plenty of time for kids to build skills. But, there may not always be plenty of time to build enjoyment. The right parental actions during the critical first few weeks of a new sport can give kids and parents years of great memories.

Trying Out for a Select Team – The Parent Quiz

If Your Kid Can Make the Team, Can You?

Given the importance of team chemistry, many select and travel teams are starting to evaluate parents as well as the players when making their decisions for limited team spots. Parents who have demonstrated inappropriate behavior or who have caused problems for coaches or staff often put their kids at a disadvantage. Parents who don’t have the right perceptions of select sports can also cause problems for teams. Here is a quick questionnaire that teams can use to evaluate the parents of select or travel players.

Instructions: Choose the BEST answer from the list provided. The word “select” can also mean “travel”. A hint is provided at the end of the question.

1. What is the proper role of parents on a select team?

  • Help the coach spot flaws in the team.
  • Help the coach track playing time.
  • Help bring the coach’s attention to bad officiating.
  • Provide support and encouragement for their child and team.

If parents provide a supportive and nurturing environment for their kids, coaches will have an easier time focusing on player and team skills.

Read more of this post

When Life Deals You a Bad Season

Judging the success of a season is something that is easy for parents to do at anytime. If kids are playing in a safe environment that is fun and that is teaching the kids to be better people, then the season is going well. If there are risks that kids may get injured, want to quit playing or are learning the wrong life lessons, then the season is not only bad, it is on the verge of disaster.

Last week’s post covered the 10 commitments that parents should expect from coaches. When some or all of these commitments are missing, then the risks of a disastrous season increase. A lack of commitment from a coach can lead to an environment that has a negative impact on a child’s confidence and enjoyment. If not corrected, this negative impact can easily cut short a young person’s sports future.

One of the life lessons that parents often teach is that one should tough out a bad situation. Yet, when confronted with a season with a bad coach, parents should rethink the finer points of this lesson. Toughing out a season makes sense only if parents can be assured that their child will not loose enthusiasm for sports. Toughing out a bad situation may avoid conflict but is not worth the risk that the current season will be the child’s last.

There are alternatives to quitting for the season. Communication with the coach or league personnel may address the issue. Changing teams may be an option. However, placing a child’s overall enjoyment ahead of all other issues gives parents a good starting point to address the problem.