Choosing the Right Sport and Physical Activity Program for Your Child (page 2)

— National Association for Sport and Physical Education
Updated on Apr 11, 2011

Child's Readiness to Participate

  • My child’s interest level and desire to have fun matches the group/team
  • My child’s skill level and size matches the group/team
  • My child’s emotional and social maturity matches the group/team
  • The level of intensity and competitiveness in the program matches my child’s interest and ability
  • Children with special needs are included in this group/team
  • Cultural and gender diversity are encouraged through group/team structure, activities and attitudes
  • All children are treated with respect and given meaningful opportunities to learn skills and participate fully
  • The challenges and expectations are appropriate for my child
  • Children develop a wide variety of fundamental skills prior to position specialization

Parent/Guardian Commitment to Child's Participation

  • I will support my child’s interests and realize that having FUN is the most important reason children choose to participate in sport and physical activities
  • I will provide the necessary time and assistance each week for my child to have a successful experience (i.e., encouragement, transportation, meeting attendance, volunteering, observing)
  • I understand the financial and time costs associated with participation and can provide for them
  • I will respect and support decisions made by coaches and officials even though I may disagree with them, and I will discuss any concerns I have with the coach/staff in private
  • I will be supportive of the coach/staff as teachers of my child
  • I will provide insurance coverage for my child if the organization/league does not provide adequate coverage
  • I will respect and follow rules and procedures of the club/league/organization providing the program for my child
  • I am willing to adjust family time as necessary to support my child’s participation
  • I will support my child’s active involvement by emphasizing participation, skill development, cooperation and teamwork
  • I will be a positive supporter who focuses on the positive aspects of youth sport and physical activity programs

Evaluation of the Program

  • My child has fun
  • My child’s emotional and social maturity matches the group
  • Team selection is appropriate
  • The actual administration of the program is consistent with its state philosophy
  • Sufficient and appropriate equipment is available for all participants
  • The number of practices, contests and tournaments are appropriate to this level of activity
  • Coaches modify activities to meet individual participant needs
  • Coaches/staff interact and communicate effectively with participants, parents and officials
  • Coaches treat participants, parents and officials with dignity
  • Coaches emphasize encouragement and positive feedback
  • Coaches teach participants how to cope with negative feelings: embarrassment, anger, frustration and fear
  • Coaches/officials are knowledgeable about the sport
  • Coaches/officials demonstrate, teach and encourage good sporting behavior
  • Officials are fair and consistent in their rulings
  • Awards are appropriate and emphasize participation, skill improvement and teamwork

Bill of Rights for Young Athletes

  • The principles set forth in the Bill of Rights are applicable to all sport and physical activity programs for children and youth.
  • Right to participate in sports.
  • Right to participate at a level commensurate with each child’s maturity and ability.
  • Right to have qualified adult leadership.
  • Right to play as a child and not as an adult.
  • Right of children to share in the leadership and decision-making of their sport participation.
  • Right to participate in safe and healthy environments.
  • Right to proper preparation for participation in sports.
  • Right to equal opportunity to strive for success.
  • Right to be treated with dignity.
  • Right to have fun in sports.


American Sport Education Program. (1994). SportParent. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics

Bunker, L.K., and Rotella, L.K. (1995). Parenting Your Superstar. Charlottesville, VA: Links Press

Burnette, Darrell J. (1993). Youth Sports and Self-Esteem: A Guide for Parents. Indianapolis, IN: Masters Press

Dougherty, IV, N., Ed. (1993). Principles of Safety in Physical Education and Sport. Reston, VA: AAHPERD

Hart, J., and Ritson, R. (1993). Liability and Safety in Physical Education and Sport. Reston, VA: AAHPERD

Lumpkin, A., Stoll, S.K., and Beller, J.M. (1994). Sport Ethics: Applications for Fair Play. St. Louis, MO: Mosby- Year Book, Inc.

Micheli, L.J. (1990). Sportwise: An Essential Guide for Young Athletes, Parents and Coaches. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (1995). Quality Coaches, Quality Sports: National Standards for Athletic Coaches. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.

Seefeldt, V.D. (1987). Handbook for Youth Sport Coaches. Reston, VA: AAHPERD

Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., and Smith, N.J. (1989). Parents Complete Guide to Youth Sports. Costa Mesa, CA: HDL Publishing Co. (AAHPERD)

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