With three kids, we have participated in our fair share of little league sports. All three kids play soccer and tennis. Miles and Alice play basketball. Miles plays baseball. And Alice runs track.
We’ve also done our fair share of coaching. I coached Simon’s soccer team last year (the kids didn’t seem to notice that I had never played soccer before), and Even Steven has coached soccer, basketball and track.
After several years and several seasons of coaching teams and having kids on teams, we’ve learned quite a bit about how to get the most out of little league sports!
How to Win at Little League Sports
1. Embrace the Experience
Parents – this is for you! When my kids first started playing sports, I grumbled.
Gone were my peaceful Saturday mornings. Where did our family dinners during the week go? I complained about the amount of time practices and games took from our family time. I complained about having to feed three kids dinner at soccer fields.
I complained about Even Steven’s shorts (don’t ask, it’s a sensitive topic.)
Once I decided to just accept that this was a fairly short period of time (most of our seasons are 4 – 6 weeks at the most), and really saw how much my kids love playing sports, I started loving it too.
I started seeing soccer dinners as a challenge instead of a chore. I realized that my 8-year-old can actually do his homework faster when we’re sitting together on a blanket watching his sister’s practice than when he’s sitting at the kitchen table at home.
And I began to see that we were still spending a lot of time together – it was just outside instead of inside our house. Which turns out to be a good thing.
2. Embrace the Friendships
Some of my kids’ best friends are the ones that they play sports with. And some of my favorite people are their parents.
There is a bonding that takes place on the field and at practice (and even on the sidelines) that is different than the ones that happen in the classroom or on the playground.
Embrace these friendships. Grab a pizza with the team after a game or offer to host a team party when the season is over. (Or just accept the offer when you’re invited.)
These are the kids and the parents that you’re going to be seeing when your child graduates from high school – gasp, sob, gasp – you might as well get to know them.
3. Have FUN
This is about your child having fun. This is not about your child getting a college scholarship or going professional or joining an Olympic team.
If you need to miss a practice or a game, miss a practice or a game. If your child would rather watch her teammates than play in a game here or there, that’s okay too.
There will be a time for sports to become intense (unfortunately.) When they’re little, it’s all about learning how to play, how to be a good sport and how to have fun.
Even when you want to yell and scream at the sidelines, even when the referee makes a terrible call, even when your child seems to have forgotten how to play the sport at all – take a deep breath and remind yourself that there are no professional scouts in the stands.
4. Don’t Forget the Snacks!
If your kids are anything like mine, the snacks after a game are oftentimes more important than the game itself.
Don’t be the parent that forgets to bring snacks when it’s your turn.
Trust me, I’ve been that parent, and it feels really awful.
Now, I make sure to keep a stash of snacks in the car throughout each season. That way I know that I always have some for snack day – and to use as a backup in case another parent forgets.
5. Consider Coaching
I know – we’re all too busy to coach.
You can’t coach if you’ve never played the sport yourself.
There are a lot of other parents that have more time, more experience, etc – they should be the ones coaching.
I used to tell myself all those things too.
But you really might want to consider coaching. My husband does a great job of explaining why, so I’ll let him share his thoughts with you.
6. Don’t Blink
I am amazed at how fast each sport season passes, how quickly each school year ends, how little time seems to pass between each birthday.
These are the days that we have the incredible opportunity to be so involved in our kids’ lives.
Take joy in their joy and comfort them in their losses.
Remember that it’s all just a game.
And don’t blink, because you might just miss it all.
Mastering Back to School Together
Back to school can be hectic, but it doesn’t have to be hard!
With three kids in school, I’ve learned a few things along the way that help to simplify the entire back-to-school process, while also keeping me sane.
And I’m sharing them all with you!
- The organizational systems we have in place
- The routines we use (and how we remember them)
- Why my kids haven’t missed the bus in three years
- How to have the best first day of school EVER
- How to put an end to homework battles
- How I get my kids talking (and talking and talking and talking) every day after school
- How we manage busy sports seasons without going insane
- The simple tech hack that EVERY parents needs to know
- And so much more!
Plus you can see how I made this amazing command center that keeps me crazy organized – using supplies from the Dollar Store!
Pretty great, huh?!?