For even the most dedicated sports parents, game days can be long and grueling, especially when you need to arrive at the field early or play multiple games. Before long, the bleachers feel uncomfortable, the weather feels chilly, and you’re feeling hungry. If you haven’t planned ahead, you’re down for the count.

But by upgrading your outdoor sports chairs, bringing along the essentials, and always having snacks—lots and lots of snacks—on hand, you’ll be well-prepared for a Saturday on the sidelines. Keep reading for more tips on going the distance as a sport parent.

Get That Soccer Mom Chair…and Get Comfortable!

It’s a universally acknowledged truth: bleachers are unpleasant. But having your own comfortable chair is a complete game changer. Our top recommendation is an outdoor folding director’s chair—easy to carry and set up, they also fold up compactly to take up minimal room in your trunk.

The director’s chair style is comfortable without being overly slouchy, helping you relax while staying focused on the game. And for long days and even longer seasons, you’ll be happy to have the extra features built into GCI director’s chairs, like fold-out side tables (perfect for snacks!), padded armrests, breathable mesh panels, and adjustable reclining backrests. For those who would rather be in motion, choose a director’s chair-style outdoor rocker like the Freestyle Rocker™, which rocks smoothly on any surface, from grass to gravel and everything in between.

Spectating is even better in the director’s chair-style Freestyle Rocker™.
Our Big Comfort Stadium Chair with Armrests™ makes bleacher seating much more bearable.

When bringing a standalone chair isn’t feasible, there’s still no reason to punish your back on the hard, unsupportive bleachers. A portable stadium seat easily latches right onto the bleachers, but having a sturdy backrest makes a world of difference. Available with armrests, lumbar support, and storage pockets, our stadium seats were designed to keep you comfortable even through extra innings.

Whatever your style, having the most comfortable outdoor folding chair stashed in your trunk is a slam dunk.

Cover All the Bases.

During the game, you probably won’t be able to run home for supplies, so it pays to plan ahead.

Staying hydrated should be your top priority, so try to get in the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. For long game days, bring along a small cooler filled with ice and extra water bottles.

Because life gets hectic, your best bet is to pack a bag of essentials and keep it stashed in the car along with your outdoor sports chairs; our recommendations are listed below. Simply check the bag every week or two to see if anything needs to be replenished.

Year-round:

  • Umbrella
  • Sunglasses
  • Aspirin
  • Portable phone charger
  • Cash (for vendors at the field)
  • Lots of filling, shelf-stable snacks (protein bars, trail mix, pretzels, jerky, dried fruit, etc.)

In chilly months:

  • Blanket
  • Sweater or jacket
  • Winter hat
  • Mittens
  • Pair of warm socks
  • Hand & foot warmers

In warm months:

  • Poncho or jacket
  • Sun hat or baseball cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray

Be a Good Sport.

It’s easy to get caught up in the highs and lows of a game, but keep the goal in mind—the goal for your child’s experience, that is! Practice patience, and demonstrate the importance of a positive attitude by:

  • Helping to build their confidence. Compliment your child’s effort and teamwork, and avoid comparing their performance with that of other players.
  • Letting the coach do the coaching. Resist the urge to provide instructions to your child during the game.
  • Remembering who’s on your side. Don’t argue with coaches, umpires, or other parents in the stands.
Be the envy of the parent section with a GCI rocker, one of the most comfortable outdoor folding chairs on the market!

Safety is #1.

Participating in sports comes with so many great benefits for your child—but of course, it also brings the risk of injuries. Follow these tips (plus all guidelines from organizers and coaches) to help keep your child safe and healthy.

  • Before the season begins: Take your child for a sports physical or preparticipation physical examination.
  • Before each game: Ensure your child has all the necessary protective gear they need to play.
  • Throughout the season: Keep an eye on your child’s equipment and protective gear to ensure it’s still in good condition. If your child goes through a growth spurt, they may suddenly need new footwear. Don’t delay replacing any items that no longer fit!