I didn’t play sports as a kid. I didn’t watch sports as a kid. I was very happy to sketch, play piano, read, write and dance. By nature I’m a relatively quiet person. That being said, I’ve taught large college lectures to auditoriums of 300 and can give presentations to upper executive management at work with ease. I can raise my voice when I have to (don’t my kids know it!) but being vocal isn’t necessarily my favorite activity.
This has all worked out just fine for most of my life. However, I’ve learned when you’ve got your precious little athlete out on the ice (field, court, etc.) making the big play with hands in the air they don’t want to turn to their parent in the stands to see them mildly clapping with a proud smile. They want standing! They want jumping! They want, you guessed it – yelling. And lots of it. I think to most this may sound like no big deal but if you’ve never played the sport they’re playing, don’t know the rules, and are afraid of shouting something ridiculous, here are some tips I’ve learned by watching other parents over the years of hockey and other sports games.
Things you can shout pretty much 100% of the time, to any player, for any reason:
“Skate!” (or “Run!”)
“Go (enter kid’s name here)!”
“Keep your eye on the puck!” (ball, frisbee, target, birdie, golden snitch etc.)
Things you can shout when there are a bunch of players near your goal:
When your kid’s team scores:
“Way to go (team name or jersey color)!”
“Nice one (enter kid’s name)!”
When the other team scores:
“Let’s get it back (your kid’s team name or jersey color)!”
“That’s okay (your kid’s team name or jersey color)!”
“Let’s go (your kid’s team name or jersey color)!”
Cheer for the other kids too! If you don’t know the names of the other players, and their jerseys only have a number or last name, bring the team roster to games. Odds are your coach or team manager has sent this out via email, or could give you a copy. Nothing helps give you more parental respect than being able to cheer on other kids by name too. Plus it helps to support the team and you’ll be able to talk about the game more with your kiddo later (“nice work with that assist from Johnny today!”).
At the end of the day, don’t worry about saying something weird or cheering incorrectly. I’ve learned the hard way that yelling nothing at all actually looks sillier than yelling the wrong thing.