How to be a good basketball spectator

Imagine you’re a student in a classroom.

You’re sitting at your desk.

Workbook open, red and blue pens at the ready, ruler sitting nicely on the table, excited for another day of super exciting math lessons.

Your teacher walks into the room.

(seems like a pretty typical school day thus far)

Then, things start to get a bit odd…

Behind your teacher, there’s a long line of 40 adults.

They follow the teacher into the classroom, spread themselves out evenly around the sides of the room, and then start chatting quietly amongst themselves.

It’s “the parents”.

And they’re here to watch today’s math lesson.

“That’s a bit weird, but okay, whatever” – you think to yourself.

The teacher gives a quick explanation of the math problems you’ll be working on in class today, and then you put your head down and get to work.

Almost immediately the parents start shouting.

“Make sure you carry the two!”

“How on Earth did you get THAT solution?”

“You should have used this method instead!”

There’s loud shouting coming from all four sides of the room.

And the worst part…

Everyone’s yelling something different.

Your teacher explained one method, Little Freddie’s parents are yelling out a different method, and Big Johnnie’s parents think all three of them are idiots.

You’re as confused as a kangaroo on a golf course.

Figuring out which method you should use to solve the math problem becomes basically impossible under these chaotic circumstances.

My point with this story?

While 99% of people would find the above classroom scenario absurd if it actually happened, everyone seems to blindly overlook when the exact same thing happens on a basketball court.

Think about it…

In the middle of a 5th-grade basketball game you’ll hear:



“Set it up!”

“Get to the hoop!”

…all screamed out at the exact same time.

This DOES NOT help the team.

The better option is to allow the coach to do the coaching, while the parents of the players sit back, enjoy the game, and provide support.


Huge thanks to Trevor at Coach Mac for permission to reproduce the above.

Last weekend, our kids got a taste of what it’s like to only have to listen to one voice (their coach’s voice) during their game. And they liked it!

Last weekend, our umpires got a taste of what it’s like to not have 20-30 voices yelling at them, telling them about every call they missed. And they liked it!

This weekend? YES, a limited number of spectators (stay tuned for more exact details) will be allowed back courtside at Domestic games.

Ahead of that happening, we’d like to remind parents that instead of:

Grab the ball! Where’s the rebound! Foul! Travel! Get back! Where’s your man?! Groaaan – what kind of shot is that?

All of which are negative and instructional, we’d love you to try:

Great job! Good try! Well done!

Keep it positive. Keep it encouraging. Leave coaching to the coaches and umpiring to the umpires.

That way we can all have fun this weekend 🙂

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