We’ve all seen them or heard them. Parents pacing the sidelines at their child’s game, barking out directions, arguing with the referee, and complaining about the level of play on the field. It’s usually the parents receiving eye rolls from other parents, or being avoided altogether. Statistically, they’re actually in the minority, but what a loud and disruptive minority it is.

Don’t be this parent. Not because you want to spare your fellow parents the unpleasant experience, but because deep down you want your child to have a positive experience playing youth sports.

Here are some ways to be the parent your child is excited to have watching on the sidelines.

1. Don’t coach unless you are the coach

If you want to coach, volunteer to be one. Otherwise, leave the coaching to the parent who did volunteer to coach your child’s team.

2. Leave the refs alone

You’re either embarrassing your child or your teaching them that yelling, cursing at, and harassing the referees is the way to get your point across. It’s not.

3. Quit yelling

It only causes tension and annoyance.

4. Support, don’t criticize

Know the difference between saying “Nice try!” versus “You have to be faster to the ball!” One is going to encourage your child, the other will leave them feeling dejected.

5. Remember who’s playing the game

It’s not you. Your previous sports experience is completely irrelevant when your child is on the field and you’re on the sidelines.

6. Emphasize fun, not winning

This is youth sports, not the pros. A win shouldn’t make or break the mood for the day.

7. Enjoy your child’s play

Even without a fantastic shot, your child’s play should be fun to watch. Make sure they know that.

8. Let your child choose the sport

If your child wants to play soccer, it doesn’t matter that you had aspirations for them trying out for t-ball.

9. Let your child try different things

Don’t commit your child to one sport by age five. Don’t even commit to sports period.

Youth sports offer a great opportunity for kids to enjoy physical activity, learn teamwork and leadership skills, and most importantly, have fun. Your sideline behavior plays a significant role in your child’s experience.