Steve Kerr's parenting advice for youth sports

The NBA great's parents let him figure things out on his own.

Steve Kerr's parenting advice for youth sports

"Oh I got plenty of advice for sports parents," says Steve Kerr, a glint in his eye.

"Keep your mouth shut. Really! Just shut up is the best thing you can do!"

That's more or less the guidance of an NBA great coach and former player. It's a philosophy shaped by personal experience.

"When I played youth sports my mom and dad wouldn't come to all my games, but they'd come to a lot of them," says Kerr. "My dad was always very quiet at these games, but I had an awful temper."

"I'd give up an out in baseball, whatever, and I'd throw a tantrum. My dad would always just be very patient, he didn't say anything. Once I got home and I'd calmed down a little bit, he'd talk to me. You know, 'Why did you get so upset? Maybe it would be a good idea to try and be a little less emotional during games'."

This calmness embodied by his parents wasn't evident on the sidelines when Kerr coached his kids' youth basketball teams.

"Having coached my kids, I was just blown away by how many parental coaches there were during the game," he says.

"How can you possibly play at 10 years old when you got 12 people yelling at you: you got the two coaches, you got your parents, and you got eight other fans, you know, 'Keep your eye on the ball!' 'Don't this!' Don't that!'."

Kerr's advice for helping your young athlete grow boils down to this:

"You know kids are going to learn just from playing and from their coach and from the atmosphere. Then, if you just support them as parents they're gonna feel so much more comfortable."

"To me," he finishes, "it's really profound the impact my parents had on me by backing off and just letting me play and letting me figure things out."

As it turned out, the 5-time NBA champion's parents' approach certainly didn't hurt their son's career.