Most dads bristle when they see dads behaving badly on the sports field, going overboard to produce a win at any cost. Most of us just want the kids to have fun, get some exercise, and learn valuable life lessons from the sport. Here are 10 tips for teaching good sportsmanship to kids:
- Try to avoid investing your ego into any game the kids are actually playing. Remember: you’re not 9 years old again and whether your team wins or loses doesn’t say anything about how good a coach you are. If it does, you should be more highly paid for your time!
- Make sure to emphasize other parts of the game rather than just the winning.
- Teach players to take responsibility for personal actions on the field. Don’t let kids “blame” each other for situations that arise, and at the same time, don’t let anyone get worked up over a bad play.
- Use current events to reinforce good sportsmanship lessons. Since kids are often avid sports page readers, there are plenty of lessons in the papers on good and bad behavior. Start dugout conversations that reinforce good behavior by sports heroes.
- Make sure kids realize that good sportsmanship means sharing victories in a team. It’s great to be a star, but in many sports, it’s impossible to win alone.
- If you’re watching from the sidelines, don’t interfere with your child’s coach. Don’t abuse the referees.
- Make a point to find positive actions and attributes in your child’s team members and also in the opposing team. This helps reinforce the idea that sports are a game, not a war with an enemy.
- Take a lead with other parents to create an atmosphere that puts good sportsmanship above winning at all costs.
- Finally, remember that you’re the most important role model for your child. He or she will see the value of sports and sportsmanship through your eyes.
– Paul Banas
Founder / Editor