Parents can encourage their children in many ways through youth sports. Simply being present and attentive during practices can go a long way. Conversations between parents and children after practices and games offer a great opportunity to encourage their children. Here are a few examples of the types of words that are especially encouraging to children involved in youth sports:

  1. “I was so proud of how hard you were working during that practice. I could tell you were really trying to improve on that skill.”
  2. “You had such great teamwork when you passed that ball to your teammate for that open shot!”
  3. “You may not even remember this, but even just a year ago, you really struggled with that skill. Today, you make it look easy!”
  4. “My favorite part of the game today was the smile you had on your face.”
  5. “I know that sometimes that skill is really difficult for you, but I could tell that all your hard work is really starting to pay off.”

Keep in mind that the best way to praise your child is for their effort—such as how hard they’re working or the time they are spending practicing—than it is to focus on the outcomes—such as how much they score or whether they win a game!