9 rugby etiquette tips for parents

School rugby brings out the passion in people and the 'crazy sports parent' isn't uncommon. We need to help our children become happy, healthy and confident young athletes. After all, our little heroes on the school field are the future giants of premier national tournaments.

Here are some key pointers to maintaining balance, fun and a healthy love of children’s sport for both you and your child:

1. Keep comments positive

Constructive criticism is a learning curve for children, but don't forget that we're talking about kids playing sport. Keep it positive.

2. Speak respectfully about the players and to each other

This applies to the kids, their coaches, as well as to your fellow parents – opposition or not. Keep statements considerate, that way they are more accurate. Try not to succumb to belittling the opposition or the fans – it doesn’t win any friends.

3. Don’t become that crazy sports parent

Learn how to best support your child. Swearing is not only inappropriate, it’s really tacky to see a parent swearing from the benches and it only serves to embarrass your child.

4. Fun is key

The biggest motivation for kids to play sports is having fun and your role as parent is to ensure this. It's the child's desire to play that matters, not the parent's desire to have the child play.

5. Always use positive encouragement

Encouraging your kids to play sports is one of the best ways to help them develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

6. Don’t over-emphasise winning

Focus rather on fully participating or risk making your child too anxious to do their best during a game. Emotional support means accepting your child for who they really are, and not just the winning athlete.

7. Don't push your goals onto your child

Seeking out your own identity though your child's success is a no-no. Just because Dad didn’t make provincial rugby doesn’t mean he has to live vicariously through his son.

8. Be interested and supportive

Don't push your child too hard or be too serious – enjoy your child and let them learn by making mistakes. Allow them to set their own goals. Be supportive even though you may not enjoy the sport yourself.

9. Parents, Be Smart!

Valid concerns about safety are fair. Check out Boks Smart for guidelines and protocol that all school rugby should follow – it will give you insight into nutrition for your future baby bok, info around gear and all important safety etiquette that keeps our little champions out of harm's way on the rugby pitch.

Ultimately, playing rugby and indeed playing any sport as a child is about having a good time, growing, developing and learning important social skills. So sit back and cheer for the whole team and the opposition’s too.

What are your tips for being a great sport parent?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24