Understand the policy of the sports group. For example, is playing time doled out equally or on merit? With younger kids, "Why Less Is More for WOSPs" author John Tauer said, "you can make a compelling argument that everyone should play. As kids get older, they may be trying to field a competitive team."

Speak up sparingly. And don't do it right after a game. If you have a beef about playing time, for example, Tauer suggests e-mailing the coach or captain and requesting a few minutes once cooler heads prevail.

Practice moderation. Does your child really need to be on four teams?

Create a family mission statement. What do you want your kids to develop? Perseverance? Maturity? (Good online resources include devzone.positivecoach.org, and nays.org/parents.)

Accept reality. An infinitesimal number of children will play professional ball. Don't try to manufacture an athlete. Try to grow a happy, well-adjusted young adult.

Encourage pickup games — for fun. And, parents, get out there and play, too.

From "Why Less Is More for WOSPs" (Beaver's Pond Press, $19.95). Available on ­amazon.com and at the University of St. Thomas bookstore.