Coaching Youth Sportsmanship

Sports Season is Upon Us
Who often demonstrates the worst sportsmanship at the kid’s games? It is some over-zealous dad who thinks he is the authority on every issue! These are usually embarrassing moments for the children. These dads want to win at any cost and blame the coach or ref if things are not going their way. These times are unfortunate, but when these incidents do occur, they serve as a good example of what not to do; a teachable moment.

Teaching sportsmanship is not an easy thing to do. But when there is a good example of what it is not correct, right in front of everyone, the opportunity must be seized. Kids need to be told that it is not proper to yell, bully, taunt, complain and loudly express negative comments regarding the officiating or coaching of either team. They need to realize these charges vented by an irate parent do nothing to change the outcome of the game.

Winning or losing isn’t the primary objective of youth athletics. Rather, it is about:

  •         developing skills,
  •         building strong bodies,
  •         learning discipline,
  •         fostering confidence,
  •         comprehending teamwork,
  •         understanding competitiveness,
  •         learning to play by the rules and
  •         to enjoy playing the game.

There is a statement written by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) that says, “When the One Great Scorekeeper comes, to write against your name, He marks not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.”

Sportsmanship is all about respect for everyone else who is involved with the game. When things are going well it is easy to be a good sport and only have praise for everyone. But when things are not going well, that is the time each participant and parent needs to handle themselves with dignity. Kids need to be taught that saying nothing when they are upset and disagree with what just happened in a game is a difficult but virtuous thing to do.

Encouragement and positive comments are always appropriate in any difficult situation. When the kids lose a game it is important to focus on what they did well and correctly. Building confidence comes from re-enforcing the activities that went well and not focusing on the questionable issues with other players, coaching or officiating. The outcome of a team’s game score is beyond an individual player and needs to be kept in perspective. Walking away from a game with a sense of personal pride that they gave their all and did their best is a player’s real objective.

This personal pride and self-esteem begins in the morning with a student athlete’s bedroom. Like the military, the personal discipline to make the bed and clean up the room before leaving sets the day off on the right foot. To assist your young competitor, you can utilize Tuckright Blanket Suspenders®  on their bed to keep the bedcovers on all night and have the bed looking good in the morning, almost already made.

A child who practices good sportsmanship is likely to carry the respect and appreciation of other people into every other aspect of life. Sportsmanship is as much an outcome of playing a sport as the other attributes mentioned above.

On or off the field, how do you teach good sportsmanship? Share with us in the comments below!

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