Being a part of a team is an important aspect of being involved in sport. Teams can create a sense of belonging, excitement, and connectedness. Even with individual sports, a sense of team can be created and is encouraged to help with motivation, interest, and persistence. Athletes are involved in teams for a variety of reasons: to be with friends, to build their skills with others, and sometimes, for the uniform! Regardless of the reason behind participation, it is important to create a sense of family to increase positive team dynamics.
Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Team Connection'
- Organize a team dinner or outing outside of practice.
- Parents could help to create t-shirt or apparel of some kind for each member of the team.
- Help to organize a meaningful year/season end celebration. There are lots of great ideas on Pinterest!
Parents can be wonderful allies to the youth sport experience and have the power to enhance the sport experience for all youth involved. Research clearly supports the fact that youth want moderate involvement from their parents. Further, a study form 2015 points to support as a fun aspect of the youth sport experience – not only support of your own child but support of every child (for example, hearing congratulations from another parent).
Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Parent Connection'
- Get involved in the team cheer or handshake at the end of a game (speak to the coach about this!)
- A parent committee could set up a rotation to bring a healthy snack at the end of practice or help the coach with equipment during a practice.
- A parent committee could come up with team shirts in support of the team. It may be even great to have the names of the players on the shirts to reinforce that all parents are supporting each child and not just their own.
Establishing links with the community is an important way to help athletes feel more connected to the world around them. Being involved in sport can be isolating and encourages youth to be self-absorbed at times. When they can connect to community, even in a small way, this helps them to see beyond themselves and keep perspective on their own participation, encouraging gratitude and a broader view of the world.
Recommended Parent SCORE Plays – 'Community Connection'
- A parent committee can select a cause to support for part of the season that may have particular meaning to the team (i.e., they may decide to wear something blue one day or throughout the year to bring awareness to an anti-bullying campaign)
- Parents may decide to bring a non-perishable food item to support a local food bank for a practice instead of providing a snack.
- The team, along with parents, could volunteer at a local community event or volunteer at a food bank or shelter to help others.