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Pushing It Too Far

Are Pushy Parents Ruining Snowboarding?

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Have your say in the comments and win yourself some ‘sponsor’ stickers…

Child star he may have been, but this level of sponsorship is rarer than rocking horse sh*it. Shaun White is one of the very few who earn megabucks from snowboarding… / Photo by Gabe L’Heuruex

 

Words by an anonymous industry insider.

Ah, I remember those old dry slope days, the days when me and all my buddies would meet up and go riding. Parents would drop the kids off and leave them to it. The kids were cool. Snowboarding broke down barriers; no matter how old you were, where you were from or what music you were into, it brought everyone together.  How times have changed. Those barriers – age and all the rest of it – are still being broken down, but lurking behind those barriers is a new threat. Parents. Parents stood by the lift making sure their kid is ‘pushing’ themselves. Parents window licking at the domes waiting to give little Jonny a rollicking for not sticking his tricks. Why? Are they just living vicariously through their kids? Or do they think snowboarding is going to offer them the retirement they have always dreamed of when little Jonny makes it big?

Snowboarding is not football. Nor is it a beauty pageant. Pushy parents have no place in snowboarding culture

Massive reality check guys! Snowboarding is not football. Nor is it a beauty pageant. Pushy parents have no place in snowboarding culture, and their arrival is making me want to hang up my boots and take a step away from the sport I have loved for over 10 years. OK, so snowboarding is more serious than it was back then – there are more opportunities for kids to get to the Olympics, there are more serious contests, and you can make a career out of being competitive. But it’s still pretty much a given that whether you are riding at the X Games or at a local dome, there is a camaraderie between the riders. No matter what brand they ride for or how much they want to win, they will still be stoked on the others’ riding.  They share the same hotel rooms, book the same flights and will be hanging out together for a beer afterwards. But most importantly, they are all still doing it for fun.

Just look at some of the UK’s most successful snowboarders: Jamie Nicholls, Jenny Jones, Aimee Fuller, Dan Wakeham – all of them started snowboarding for a laugh and all of them progressed by riding with their mates, for fun. Yes they have gone down the competition route – they train, they are coached and they work hard for their sponsors – but they would not be where they are today if they had not been allowed to grow to love snowboarding, if they had not been allowed to push themselves in a relaxed friendly environment, free of parental rivalries and extreme competitive attitudes. Parents need to realise that if they pressure their kids, they will actually stifle their progression. More importantly, they’ll kill their love of the sport.

Parents need to realise that for the vast majority, snowboarding is not a bejewelled land of endless opportunity with money flowing from bountiful sponsors

Parents also need to realise that for the vast majority, snowboarding is not a bejewelled land of endless opportunity with money flowing from bountiful sponsors. For the most part it’s a world of people who work incredibly hard for very little money out of a passion for the sport. Many ‘pros’ have been riding for years, working hard to represent their sponsors on product-only deals in the hope that one day they might get a travel budget. In terms of actual salary, they get nothing. The increasing number of parents who ask for cash from little Jonny’s sponsors are living in cloud cuckoo land. What little cash there is will go to the guys who have paid their dues. And remember, product isn’t free either, brands have to pay for it – it still comes out of somebody’s bank account.

The sad fact is that these days, parents can thwart their kids’ chances of getting sponsored at all by being pushy and annoying. Yep, when a brand looks at sponsoring kids, the parents affect that decision. Nightmare parent? Steer clear. Another sad thing is that the fixation with sponsorship is being passed on to the next generation. Sponsors are not merit badges. They’re not even necessarily marks of your kid’s talent – so many kids have hookups these days that it’s almost losing its meaning. And anyway, my fondest memories from 10 years of snowboarding are of being covered in slope slime with duct-taped boots and clothing that was falling apart. It’s all about the riding at the end of the day, everything else is just window dressing.

So pushy parents, how about you let your kids just ride? Support and encourage them by all means, take them to the dryslope or the dome when they want to go, but stop being so competitive, and quit with the pushing.

***

What do you think? Does snowboarding have a problem with pushy parents? Or do kids need all the help they can get from mum and dad if they’re going to take their riding to the top level? Have you say below, and the best comments will win some stickers.

  1. Rob Needham

    I have read all the comments with interest. And it is true there are pushy parents out there and this should be stopped. At the Morrow Jam the main rule for ANYONE (rider, judge, spectator etc) is HAVE FUN OR GET LOST. Mischief first.

    Trying my best to look at things from the other side of the coin. If a parent has paid shedloads of hard earned cash to get their offspring “the other side of the glass” and all they are doing is “having a mothers meeting” at the top of the slope I can see their frustration. This problem is being caused by the cost of going to the domes (not thier fault – commercial pressure).

    On the dryslopes we would be there all day for the same money so we had time to socialise. Also the “barrier” between the slope and the specators did not exist.

    Time change but the bottom line is

    SNOWBOARDING SHOULD BE ABOUT FUN

  2. Tracy

    Totally agree, There is a big difference between supporting your child than pushing them. xxxx

  3. dayton mcgregor

    I’ve never seen this before on the hill. Maybe because there is no dry slope or indoor training in my region. Even in hockey there are silly people that yell and scream one kid got cloths lined last year. There always seems to be some controversy about people not happy with their own lifestyle. Growing up at soccer, My dad way the most patient guy in the world. Always told me to run faster by getting up on my toes. I really miss that guy.

  4. Phil

    I’ve got 2 children and neither of them are in to skating or snowboarding to my disappointment, but I throw all the other sports at them with the hope that something sticks.
    When it comes to sport I think that they should enjoy it first and succeed second. However, academically I pay for extra tuition and really push them with their homework often arguing with them when I don’t think they have completed it to the best of their ability.
    What’s the difference?
    Look at the Williams sisters, pushy parents, now the best in the world, Tiger woods, same thing – It works.
    As I said, with sports I feel that kids should really enjoy themselves but that doesn’t mean I’m right.
    Everyone is very keen to berate the touchline parents but which parents out there can really say they don’t push their kids to succeed in other areas of their life? We don’t exactly have the ideal focus group on this thread as clearly everyone on here is a keen snowboarder who likes nothing better than shredding with their crew, but with sponsorship and endorsements at a level that puts the average wage to shame and comes with travel and a whole load of perks why is this so terrible? Hoop dreams are nothing new and 99% of kids won’t make it but some will and some kids who were pushed to practice piano 4 hours a night become concert pianists.
    These type of discussions are seldom as black and white as they first seem.

  5. Bartsimpsonhead

    I remember some years ago going down to MK for a little shred and there being the usual selection of rails and kickers out with people young and old hitting them.
    MK being MK, at some point one of the Pomas stopped working and there was a massive queue on the other, and it was at this point I witnessed some parent shouting at their kid to walk back up the slope and get some more practice in (there may have been a comp – I can’t remember clearly). Poor girl looked very tired and was close to tears at this.
    So pushy parents in snowboarding do exist, and I think it’s sad that they (the parents) try to live out their dreams and ambitions through their children.

  6. Stephen Anderson

    My two kids have been learning to board for a few seasons now, on both dry and snow. They actualy enjoy me being there watching & taking part showing off there skills. By no means are any of us “Pro’s” so i supose the only compation is between the two of them. freindly compation is good for progretion and so is the suport of pairents, without our encouragment …and taxi service there would be a much smaller young boarder comunity. pushy pairents are comon in all competative sport and as boarding has progressed so have there numbers. but what we need to watch is that the encouragment and support is not deemed pushy,I’ll help my kids as much as i can but after reading this artical i found myself questioning myself, asking am i being pushy?….. They had the choice the other night to either go to disny land florida or go to french alpes they chose alpes…was this my influence or there own choice?

  7. evin

    I think its true i think parents go over the top they should go with what their children will make of the sport and not aggitate their children to try incappable tricks to maybe even getting hurt

  8. Nick

    This article is so true. Points out the true exploiting of kids. They never really get to enjoy the sport for the fun of it.

  9. Mike

    I was a skier, went to snowboarding one day a few years ago. I wish I started snowboarding earlier though. Love the sport, my mom is really supportive of it. I love DC, I have a DC board. The company made me love snowboarding 10 times more. Great article!

  10. matt

    I could not agree more with the point about parents ruining someone’s love for a sport. I have witnessed parents running up and down the side of the pool at swim meets, screaming at their kids every time their heads popped above the water. There is no way this can be fun for anybody; especially when it comes to snowboarding, which is supposed to be a fun sport about having good times with friends enjoying the grandeur of the mountain, not one where there should be immense amount of pressure from parents.

  11. Jeff Menday

    I have read this article with interest and all the follow up comments. I have been passionate about freestyle snowboarding for about 10 years now ever since my first board slide on a box at MK. I was so excited that my daughter joined in with my passion and we had a hobby that we could share together. We had many amazing times shredding together and taking the mickey out of each other’s bails but also sharing in ‘pushing’ each other to try increasingly harder rails or tricks.

    She was introduced to the competition circuit in the UK at a young age to see if she liked it, to my surprise she loved it and this increased her desire to pursue her skill further, until she completely outstripped my ability to keep up with her. It would be a lie to say she always loves snowboarding every time she rides as like all of us we all have good and bad days on the slope. But it has now become her passion and I am incredibly proud of what she has achieved at the age of 13.

    I was really pleased that we had become involved with a supportive and friendly community of like minded individuals. In fact she still rides with the same group of friends she originally started to freestyle with; and us as parents are good friends we share lifts, party together, have always been supportive of each other and each others kids.

    I have seen an increase in more competitive attitudes from parents towards competitions and training over recent months, and I can not help but think that Slope style becoming an Olympic event has added to this. Interestingly my daughters sponsors have not approached her due to results gained or podiums placed but more because of her enjoyment and passion for the sport. I have seen more kids being sponsored recently not because parents are sending out letter’s of request, but because their passion and style are shining through.

    A thought for the parents though: It is hard work for them ferrying, finding the funds, waiting around for hours often into the early morning. However the joy felt from the excitement your child has from landing a new trick for the first time or the non stop buzz of chatter when they have had a good fun session makes it all worthwhile. Still not as good as when you have landed it for the first time as well but still good.

    Kids ride for themselves some compete some just shred, we should support, encourage, and help them find out how they want to grow and enjoy what they do. I was once told and believe very strongly, the only person you compete against in snowboarding is your self, if you have overcome a fear or tried something new then you have already won, being on the podium is just a bonus. Enjoyment is the ‘Nirvana’ we should all be seeking (in my opinion of course).

  12. Martin Fraser

    I absolutely agree with this article. I’ve been riding for over a decade and I didn’t even want to start. I was being pestered by a well meaning mate and finally agreed to hit the hill just to shut him up.

    I fell in love after the first fall…

    Without the love of riding the whole dynamic I see on the hill fades away. Looks like boarders are increasingly turning into those skier parents you see in Val shouting at their crying cold wet kids telling them they should be enjoying themselves. (For the record, I have no problem with skiers, I’ve just never seen a boarder do this to their kids).

    On the other hand…

    The massive success stories you see across sports comes from a lot of pushy parents. From Tiger Woods to Andy Murray, their parents spotted something they loved doing and pushed them to excel. I’m not competitive at all so have never understood it, but the results speak for themselves and who knows, maybe the future super stars of boarding will be those that have been given the chance, and push, to be the best they can be and work through those days when you are just crap.

    On balance, the “scene”, or culture, is an important part of snowboarding for me but a few kids pushed into being the best in certain competitions won’t stop be and my mates from hitting the bar as hard as we hit the hill.

  13. nikki lorimer

    Ye it does have a problem, iv seen it, kids have to be happy to do there tricks not have in there head oh god whats mum or dad going to say if i fail this, :(
    I love boarding and thats why my daughter got into it, all she wants to do it board, i know if she says no i cant do it she wont do it and its best not to push her, but if she says, mmm mum i kind of want to try it but im scared ill engourage her to do it. oh and she just totally left me standing up in aviemore last weekend and loved the fact she is better than mum now lol

    1. nikki lorimer

      ohh crap, that will be their heads not there, lol

  14. Matt Forward

    I have a 2 year old boy and naturally I am hoping he will be as addicted to snowboarding as I am once he’s old enough to strap in, if nothing more so we can have another thing to do together. But if it’s not for him that’ll be cool as well.
    If he does like it but takes after me in not having an abundance of natural talent, I won’t be pushing him to go that extra 90 or 180 or whatever as long as he’s comfortable and happy and having fun.
    Of course if he does show the will, passion and discipline to train and progress then he will have my support 100% of the way

    Personally I’d love it if he took up snowboarding or any kind of board / cycling / adventure related sport, hell I’d even (just about) cope with him being a skier – these sports allow you to have fun in a group or your own and you can be creative with or without the competitive element IF you don’t want to be involved in that side of things.
    Medals aren’t everything. Just look at the uber-pros who have turned their back on competitions for freeriding.

    Too many sports are about winning and not about having fun, and as soon as it gets harder to win, i.e. moving from junior to adult competition kids will give up if they’re competing for their parents and not for themselves.
    It’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond when you’re young but not so easy when you step up to the next level where it requires greater discipline and most importantly the commitment, attitude and mental capability to succeed.

    I think to many “soccer” mums and dads have no real appreciation for the sport they are pushing their kids into and undoubtedly it will be for the fame, glory or the “money” or to live their dream through their children which is wrong.

    Yes we all want our kids to be successful at whatever they do BUT not at the expense of their happiness.

    1. Stephen Anderson

      couldnt of put it better

  15. Neil

    Parents , underpin most sports in the uk. Transport . Finance, support, encouragement…all stuff ever port needs, many sports have significant club and event structures which simply would not run without parents. where does the perceived problem stem from? Financial push, etc,

  16. Alyson Smethurst

    My 2 boys love their boarding, riding with friends and having a go at new tricks. Yes I sit and watch and enjoy every minute, not only watching mine but other kids having a fab time. There are some very pushy parents around I have to say but I dont want to get involved with that side of the scene, and neither does my youngest son!My eldest is now an instructor and has had encouragment from us for this,but thats it.
    If kids dont enjoy their sport they should not be doing it.Its not about who is watching , or getting seen, its all about enjoying what you do. We dont have a tick list, in fact after 2 years I still have no idea tricks are called, its a twizzle to me!I find it disgusting the amount of pressure some kids are put under by Mum and Dad!
    We as a family love our snowboarding and we have made many friends, but we are finding this unpleasant side of the sport very off putting, some of these kids are very rude and cocky , thats not what its all about.

  17. Jane Gilmore

    Like all sports that children do ,there will the a few pushy parents around. As a parent of a child who loves snowboarding and wants to compete , I feel very aware of the pushy parent label ,so try to stay in the background as much as possible. It’s a real shame that just a few people tarnish all the other supportive parents out there. Without us the sport would not have its next generation falling in love with the sport.

  18. Mike Smith

    What happened to Fun??? Every parent wants there kid to do well but ‘success’ should be guaged by the size of the kids smile…as a parent, seeing your kid smiling and having fun is what makes it

    1. Jeff Menday

      Bang on Mike, you hit the nail on the head.

  19. Lauren MacCallum

    I can understand that parents want to see a certain level of commitment from their children when they send them to camps abroad and comps here there and everywhere!! (which can’t be cheep!)
    however watching a parent burn a child for not putting in a good score or for “not taking it seriously enough” I can’t stand especially in Snowboarding.
    Like my granny always said “if you do your best, then your best can do no more” and whither thats landing your first 360 at a local dryslope jam or putting your best run down at the Xgames who cares! the “athlete” is still probably having the best time ever!!
    and thats why I love snowboarding because I love the satisfaction of my personal progression and being inspired by those around me to want to want to ride faster or to try a new trick etc and for me thats what cannot be lost!…

  20. Hayley Binnee

    This article is great we have 2 boys they both ride 1 more than the other. we take them every week to the dome/dry slope they have fun we drink coffee and socialise and they ride have fun and they are not arsehole kids bored on the streets, all round win win situ I think!

    1. nikki lorimer

      coffee lol dont you mean vodka jellies.

  21. Haydn Bennett

    I only go snowboarding once a year and each year I have loved every last minute of it. Every time I’ve been it’s always been done on a shoe-string budget but I have never been forced into doing it and seem to have a better time than those with huge amounts of money! When you start out you always go down a mountain and fall over a massive amount of times, that’s the case most of the time but you always have someone their to say “it’s alright you’re getting there.” Or “Well done you’re doing really well!” I think this has been lost along the way and it seems to be more of a rivalry on the mountains nowadays. I see parents yelling at kids (not even into double figures) because they’ve messed up a turn or have fallen over by accident. I think a lot of the fun has been sucked out of a skiing holiday for children because the parents are more obsessed with their child becoming the next Shaun White or Travis Rice. If you look at how they were brought up on snowboarding they were never forced into it they just went out and enjoyed it and this is a much ‘healthier’ way than just chucking loads and loads of money at your child to become your ‘retirement plan’. I think it just needs to go back to being a holiday where you go and enjoy yourself no matter what your children are doing, if they want to get into snowboarding then get behind them 100% of the way but let them decide for themselves not have the parent decide for them.

  22. Me

    I have read this article & smiled to myself as I thought it was just me who had noticed it! My son is 13 & took up snowboarding 3 years after being a skier since the age of 4 totally all his choice & totally encouraged to try every sport till he found the right one for him.
    He has been doing freestyle for the past 2 years, he rides 2-3 times a week with his friends – in fact some of them have now become more like family to him! This year he has had some great opportunities put his way in the form of sponsorships – not for being on the podium by the way because that isn’t his top priority! But for being a great ambassador for the sport as quoted by some people! These opportunities brought along downsides thou- THE OTHER PARENTS! My god people who were friends changed overnight & the competition become unreal!!
    It has been so sad to watch the rivalry! It’s changed things between people who were once good friends & now things are so competitive its such a shame! so parents take note.. This is about the children having fun! It’s about there passion for the sport & not how much you might have invested! Yes it’s expensive but it’s not all about the money is it? It’s about your child wanting to do something they love its about there happiness without the pressure of the parent glaring at them because they didn’t quite land that trick or because they don’t have as many sponsors as the next child!!! In these situations I wonder who are the adults & who are the children !

  23. thomasEhughes

    At the end of the day parents are always going to have some level of involvement, you can talk about Nichols et al but i’m sure his parents were the ones paying for the slope passes, gear and transport at the start, as well as encouraging him when taking the decision to go pro…
    I agree totally that the situation is a bit ridiculous, but it’s a thin line between being supportive and pushy, and i’m sure that whilst on the outside it’s easy to judge, if you were that parent whose child clearly has some talent it’s a totally different ball game…

    1. Emma

      I think the line is drawn between supportive and pushy when the wrong person has the ambition to succeed.

  24. Burgers

    It seems that there is some kind of divide taking place over time. Not just in terms of parents kicking their kids reluctantly into the sport, but anyone participating at any age or level. I would like to see whether any pushy parent is willing to actually drop in and comment on this article as it appears most level headed shredders above wouldn’t dream of acting like that. I think that they are very unlikely to be reading Whitelines, or even heard of it for that matter. And this is the divide… As with any well established ‘sport’ there is a commercial reliance on big sponsorship (often from brands not remotely associated with the thing in the first place – don’t get me started…), TV royalties, and events to have made it that established. This inevitably leads to it reaching a much wider audience who perhaps have no clue about the origins of the ‘sport’ but like the perceived image that they have had created for them. Then there is the core, those that take pride in knowing about ‘back in the day’ and the origins of our lifestyle and the fact that it defines who we are without any external encouragement from parents or *insert energy drink name here*. The fact is, we are in a new era for the shred, this has never happened before and the niche action sports of yesteryear are being opened up to anyone and everyone. So we should take comfort in the knowledge that while some parents may not get it, we do. It is our job to get out there and ride with little Jonny when daddy isn’t looking and show him how much FUN snowboarding is without the pressure.

  25. Rob Stevenson

    It’s understandable that the ‘guardians’ of snowboarding want to protect the inherent culture, but social change is invading every action sport. I’m involved in several sports including snowboarding, mountain biking etc and while most people are cool, there is always the odd parent/kid who doesn’t ‘get it’.

    As a parent, I think my job is to give my kids the best start in life. To show them what’s out there, what’s possible and then to support their choices (although I draw the line at blades ;-)

    People who hope to benefit from their childrens success instead of their own, probably deserve our pity. As for changing the snowboarding culture, I somehow doubt that. Having been to UK events and Laax for the Brits, I’ve seen the tightknit groups that make up the ‘scene’ and the force is strong with them. I’ve also brought plenty of the so-called pro’s a beer, as they’ve got no cash – glam it is not.

    So, I wouldn’t encourage my kids into snowboarding as a professional. I’d encouraged them to try it. And if they like it, to get to a standard where they can experience the sense of absolute calm that can only be achieved when you totally let yourself go, bluebird day, hands behind your back, mach 9 down the piste. It’s all downhill from there anyway ;-)

  26. Laura Dunn

    My children started skiing at 4 (dont flame me!) and have dabbled with snowboarding as soon as they were old enough to hold their own on a board.

    Believe me nothing will please me more, in relation to watching their hobbies and sports, than the day I see them hit their first box! For the moment though, they’re more into guitars / rugby / swimming.

    Come the day they want to get back on their boards and start riding regularly at the domes (which may not happen!!) then I’ll be there. a) as taxi b) as bank and c) to make sure they don’t fall foul of the same mentality I saw growing in the scene when I was more involved with it. So sad seeing anyone do whatever takes just to get sponsored.

    I saw it in some of the people my age, but more and more in the younger ones which was no doubt spurred on by their parents.

    What really makes me laugh is that there’s not really a lot of money in snowboarding, so I have no idea why their parents think its a path to fortune. Some of the best riders I know, do it only for the love and even then they spend their summers busting their gut to make enough money to spend the winter doing what they love!

    To the pushy parents: Let your children grow to love the sport (if they want to) and put the time you would have spent in pushing them into enjoying watching them have fun. Or take up the sport yourself!!!

  27. Barry Gee
  28. Matt

    I got into snowboarding after a messy breakup with my ex. Fell in love with the sport and continued at a pace I’m comfortable with. I can guarantee that anything parents push on me I’d rebel against! Snowboarding is about natural progression, anything that comes on top of that is surely a bonus?

  29. Phil

    I often see young riders who are way better than me and for a moment I think “I wish my parents had taken me snowboarding when I was a child”. Then I remember the array of sports and other hobbies that they got too involved in, which always made me stop enjoying them and quit. I’m glad that I started snowboarding late, because now it’s all about fun and nobody can ruin that (not even the skiers!!)

  30. Kris Amstutz

    I agree with this article 100%. I see this every week at my local dome, even from a teaching prespective if kids arn’t learning quick enough they get shouted at.

    In terms of parents pushing for tricks thats ridiculous because it’s so true, ive seen kids cry because parents shout at them about tricks, sometimes i wonder if they ever consider the safety of there child.

    I also think some parents want there kid to be sponsored to show off to friends and family and sometimes it isn’t for the childs benefit.

    The problem also with kids getting hooked up, is yeh free kit is great as nowadays parents can’t fund it but there feet quickly leave the ground the become arrogant and forget there roots and for that reason i think sponsor’s can work against you as well as for you.

    I think we need to hammer it to Parents that snowboarding is FUN and you progress through having FUN!

    1. Barry Gee

      Absolutely on point there

    2. Jeff Menday

      totally agree Kris, that was why both Becky and I started; to have fun!

  31. Paul Parkinson

    There is nothing I disagree with here. 10/10.

  32. Emma

    Pushy parents are in every sport and they always will be. It’s not the sport that drives them, it’s their attitude to parenting. My husband and I have just bought our two year old daughter her first board, mainly because she squealed with delight when I let her stand between my bindings and rip up a green run last season.

    This season i’m expecting her shiny new board to become a bed for Peppa Pig; a sledge; a roof for a den, a table and probably the cause for a for bruises. But it doesn’t matter because and long as she’s having fun and feeling like she’s part of something special then than that is all that matters. Living the dream doesn’t mean spinning 10s before you’re six, it’s about being part of something you love.

    1. Mark

      Exactly how it should be! and she’ll love you for it.

      P.s. We have the same (mis)use in our house and it’s never done any harm!

  33. Bogi

    It’s all about the parents that missed out on the opportunity when they were younger and now they’re trying to live through their kids. Just leave it. Let them find their own hobbies.

  34. Lucie

    It was bound to happen at some point. If you combine children and a sport you will undoubtedly get the infamous breed of pushy parent. I was lucky enough to be able to induldge in a number of different sports as a child all with the support of my parents. However other friends had to have one interest (usually the same as their parents or elder siblings) and had to pursue that come hell or high water. The most vicous form of pushy parent is at Pony Club, I remember my mum being utterly horrifed at the behaviour of other parents. From cornering instructors to outright bribary and screaming at their child. But it normally comes to a point where the child has had enough and the parents have to look elsewhere for their vicarious need to fill their lives. Will these children continue to pursue this activity once their escape the parents, probably not. But at least for every pushy parent there are ten more who support their child and it’s these children who will continue the sport.

  35. Alan Orgill - Oggi

    I have been riding for over a quarter of a century and have seen many changes, not all for the better. I have seen in more recent years almost a football hooligan attitude creeping into resorts, with fighting, binge drinking (not drinking for a great night) and outright criminal damage. I have also seen the rise of pushy parents for myself, and the huge rise in the need to get video footage to the point of aggression if you get near them. There are still riders out there who ride for the pure joy of riding with friends, but unfortunately these are getting a rare breed. Who knows the reason for this change, maybe the smell of possible financial reward, but no matter how much we hypothesize it looks as if this new ‘attitude’ is here to stay, we must simply rise above it and ride?

  36. bobby

    I think some people forget how much money snowboarding cost, its not surprising that parents are getting pushy. Parents are pushy whether its learning how to play the guitar, football or snowboarding, and as the cost goes up for snowboarding the more parents will want to see a return from all the cash they are investing into their childs progression. Especially with the increasing cost of using the snow domes around the country, when i go to the Xscape i’m always blown away by kids that are already shredding far better than i am, and since i started nearly 10 years ago there are far more of these kids smashing the boxes and rails. Are pushy parents not just helping the sport progress, i can only imagine that it is the strong parental backing in the US that has means that there are so many young riders competing in the Xgames and Due tour etc. I think its important for kids to enjoy snowboarding, but it certainly would help having a parent who is pushing for progression from their kids, and as annoying as they are i think people need to wake up a bit. Snowboarding is now very much mainstream and especially with slope-style now being an olympic sport there are going to be more and more kids wanting to do it and that means more and more parents. The more parents you get, the more chance of getting pushy parents…

  37. Gnarls Shredly

    I remember reading something very similar back about 3 years ago written by Rich from FOTP… If anything, the state of this problem is getting worse – being a canuck I’m used to pushy parents in the hockey arenas. Leave that shit out – let the poor kids play. There’s a certain dad with a certain child in the UK that does a great job. Not pushy, not dickish. Suportive, cool and lets his child just crack on. You know you you are mate!

    1. Yep

      Think it was actually Sean Miller who wrote that article and he got serious threats off some ‘parents’ for writing it. The problem has got worse since then. I’ve witnessed people screaming at their long suffering kids when they don’t land stuff. Part of the problem is that it’s endemic and built in to some of the uk comps. They have numerous age categories and offer piles of tat they can’t sell as ‘prizes’ , which the kids lap up. The standard is poor too – the kids don’t care about riding, it’s all about winning as much shit for the least effort. Brands need to grow a pair and stop rewarding bad riding under the guise of ‘grass roots’ indoctrination. There are if course exceptions to the rule and there are a couple of supportive parents who nurture their kids supportively without being absolute dicks about it. This is rare, but great to see, and their kids have become talented riders because of it. That’s Karma right there.

  38. Shaun Matheson

    This is exactly the reason I don’t like sports lie football, all the “GET IN TO HIM” kind of mentality and the rivalry just isnt healthy. I love the fact that no matter where I ride if there is someone else there with a board you know you’ll get a decent chat with them.

    Lets hope snowboarding never gets to the level where people are hating on each other because of the brand you choose to ride.

  39. OldFart

    I think we should be encouraging less kids to snowboard. Annoying little shits.

    1. Alyson Smethurst

      I love it!

  40. Sian

    This is bang on point. I agree so much that one of my friends actually thought that I was the one to have written it.

    I recently saw a comment on facebook “I need to sort my daughter out because she wanted to have fun and try a new trick in a competition and that made her come second, not first”. and a 9 year old saying “my dad doesn’t let me ride 1 footed because snowboarding isn’t about fun”

    It’s absolutely disgusting, snowboarding for me is everything, its what makes me feel good, what makes me feel happy, but for these kids it’s not about that any more.

    They are screamed at if they don’t win, shouted at if they don’t land a trick and feel bad about going out and talking to their friends when on the hill.

    Companies are attacked and badgered for sponsorship of someone who can just do a 360, and it’s ended up hundreds of kids are sponsored now, so it’s not special anymore.

    Just let them have fun, have some independence and tell them that you’re proud of them, no matter what tricks they can do, as long as they are having fun.

  41. Nate

    Totally agree with this article 100%, I teach freestyle weekly, and I get a fair amount of parents, that come to me and tell me what they want their child working. this is ridiculous, kind of defeats the purpose of doing it for fun, and kids certainly don’t need the pressure I’ve seen parent put on them.

    Hows about you leave the kids alone, and let them tell me what they want to work on.

  42. tom

    I read this in the mag, im not surprised this attitude has started to spill over into snowboarding, it seems more and more parents nowadays are willing to exploit their offspring for the promise or perception of wealth. My parents were happy as long as i was and i love them for it, i imagine that most kids would come to hate boarding through being forced to do it and told off for not getting it right 100% of the time, thats not what the sport is about. i’d also guess that many of these parents may find that they push their kids away forever.

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