We've experienced a number of failed school levies in central Ohio recently, resulting in school systems being forced to make changes - including critical decisions involving interscholastic sports.

With summer sports off and running, it's important to take a moment to revisit some of the basics when it comes to youth sports. Here are a few do's and don'ts to consider the next time you watch your child play sports:

DO:

Attend as many games as possible. Remember, there is nothing more important to your child than to look into the crowd and see you there cheering away! Praise your child often - even just for effort. Kids are not always successful when it comes to sports, but try to find those moments where you can genuinely praise your child for trying hard. Be a good role model. Unfortunately, some of the ugliest, most hostile behaviors can come out at youth sporting events (i.e. abusive language, physical altercations, etc.). Be sure to act in a responsible, adult manner at all times. Set family sport goals. With so many summer leagues going on, it's easy to get caught up in the time commitments and travel requirements that sometimes can become burdensome and cause you to miss out on other things (like family vacations). Map out your family's sports schedule and decide together what is best for everyone. Have fun! Whether your child is an All-Star or on the reserve team, you can always do your part to be sure your child is learning, growing and having fun while playing sports. Remember, the number one reason why kids play sports is to have fun!
DON'T

"Coach the coach." Allow your child's coach to do the best job he or she can without second-guessing his or her decisions, or offering your advice. Remember that your child's coach is a volunteer and is doing the best job he or she can. Attack your child with advice immediately after games. Rather than trying to teach your daughter how to hit while driving home immediately after a game in which she struck out three times, try to wait a while and revisit the situation later, when emotions are not as high. Odds are your daughter will be more receptive to your advice. Get out of control at games. Never, ever is it acceptable to use vulgar language, belittle other kids (or parents), abuse officials, threaten, or become physically aggressive. Gloat about your child or his or her team. Be humble, stay level-headed, and keep your ego in check - if you do, it's likely your child will, too. Use sports as a babysitter. It's not in anyone's best interest if your main objective in signing your child up for a sports team is to have a built-in babysitter. While it may not be possible for you to make all of the games due to your work schedule, try to get as involved as you can by making your child's sport a priority in your life.