New Update 1/15/22. See below.
Athletes, especially the younger ones, are very self conscious when it comes to what others think about them. They constantly look to coaches AND parents for reassurance. Your body language and the things you say from the sidelines has an enormous impact on the team's chemistry and their moral as a whole.
We understand that tournaments can make for a long day and it can be exhausting and uncomfortable sitting in bleachers, a lot of us have been where you are with our own kids. If you take a look at the side lines when some of the best club teams in the country are competing, you will see parents actively involved in the game. They almost look like they have as much invested in the game as their athletes do. It's been proven that teams with larger and louder crowds will have an advantage over teams that have fans that aren't actively and excitedly participating in the event.
Take a look at any collegiate or professional sporting event and you'll notice how much emphasis is put on "home games" and how much of an advantage that can give a team. During a home game, they have more fans attend the event which means more cheering and more energy which affects the attitudes of the athletes.
I challenge you to make every game feel like a home game for your players this season.
The best way to criticize players, coaches and referees is to just NOT. More than likely if someone made a mistake, regardless of their age, role, or position, they are probably already aware that it happened. They don't the extra reminder or negative comments to boot.
Young players' biggest fear is often "looking stupid" in front of their friends or large groups of people. They are much more likely to continue playing and working to improve if you provide positive encouragement. Give them a high five. Tell them "Good hustle!, way to swing hard, you jumped really high for that one set, way to call the ball and be aggressive." The old saying, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," comes into play here. We want to encourage everyone to keep trying and to continue playing so that they can further their development. While you may think you are trying to help, you may just be adding to their anxiety. Even if it was a really ugly game, try to pick out something they did right so that they aren't thinking everything they do is wrong. They will continue building on everything else as the season continues.
Scope out the venue ahead of time so that you know what type of seating is available and if you should bring lawn chairs or bleacher seats. If you aren't sure, pack both!
There can be quite a bit of downtime during tournaments. Bring something to do when your athlete isn't playing (books, games, work, etc.). Also, make sure to bring chargers for your phone and other electronics if needed.