Teaching Children Good Sportsmanship

It’s no secret that kids are especially impressionable. When it comes to good sportsmanship, children look to their coaches and family members as examples of how to act. Good sportsmanship development shows kids how to behave politely during and after a game. It also impacts how children interact on and off the field, builds teamwork, character, and teaches respect, discipline, honor, kindness, resilience, perseverance, durability, and more.

Sportsmanship is a life lesson that our babies can learn from sports. This encourages everyone to do their best, boosting confidence and showing the fruits of great effort and cooperation. Children enjoy active play and look forward to sports and exercise as an opportunity to make new friends and develop new skills.

Important Principles

The ability to win without gloating, respect for the opponent and the ability to lose gracefully are the signs of good sportsmanship. Parents are important role models, so let your boys and girls see that you live up to these principles, whether you're playing the sport yourself or cheering on your child's team from the outside.

You can help your children understand and appreciate good sports behavior by instilling in them the following important principles:

  • If you lose, don't look for excuses.
  • If you win, don't get lost.
  • Learn from mistakes and get back into the game.
  • Always do your best.
  • If someone else makes a mistake, encourage them and avoid criticism.
  • Respect yourself, your team and game officials.

The goal is to show your child that he is playing for fun and that winning doesn't mean he's good and losing doesn't mean he's bad. And the sooner you start, the sooner you can stop worrying that other kids won't want to play with your kid as he's a miserable loser.

Children under 8 years: Start at a Young Age

“For a three- or four-year-old, the world is very black and white,” explains Wendy Middlemiss, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of North Texas at Denton. “Preschoolers tend to think that if they play to win, then they have to win, and therefore it is difficult for them to accept defeat.” Even if there are no official winners or losers in many sports leagues for young children, the presence of teams and uniforms creates competition. Therefore, it is very important that parents pay special attention to fun, exercise and play together.

No matter what sport your child plays, look for a league and a coach that emphasizes fun and fitness, and doesn't care about winning or losing.

Ages 8-12: Keep Calm

As children approach puberty, temper tantrums begin to erupt on and off the field, so both parents and players need to know how to predict and prevent explosions. This three-steps plan of Joel Fish, Ph.D., author of “101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent” and the director of the Center for Sports Psychology in Philadelphia can help you in this situation:

1. Know your attitude to winning and losing, teamwork and competition. If you are particularly competitive, you will need to work harder to control your emotions.

2. Know your triggers. Triggers may include a perceived bad signal from a referee, or a feeling that an opponent is taking advantage of your child, or a coach speaking rudely to your child.

3. Know how to calm yourself. Make a plan for what to do when one of these triggers evokes an emotional response. Never impose your feelings and emotions on a child. In this case, step back for a minute and let the problem be solved without your participation, and return only after you calm down.

Teens: How to Teach Respect and Confidence

Adolescents are acutely aware of wins, losses, and their performances, which can create challenges for good sportsmanship. “Whenever there is more pressure on results, it increases the chances of kids doing what they need to do to win,” Fish says. "They are more likely to cross the line by taunting another player or breaking the rules."

Parents also need to watch their thinking, they must first correct themselves, and then instill values ​​in their children. As Rob Gotlin says, the message you need to convey is "I'm here to see you compete and work on your skills."

There are many things that parents and coaches can't control, but parents can teach their children the importance of playing by the rules, shaking hands with an opponent, helping him up if he falls. Teaching him that even if his opponent doesn't do the same, he can still do it because it's right.

Tips for Teaching Good Sportsmanship

Good sportsmanship involves definite rules of good behavior. Here are some helpful concepts to share with your children:

Follow the rules of the game. Explain to your child that the rules are there to keep the sport organized.

Do not argue. Focus on the play and don't get mad at teammates, coaches or referees. Always avoid using profanity and negative words.

Everyone should be able to play. In youth sports, it is essential to encourage even the most inexperienced players to enjoy the game. Parents, coaches, and even other players play an important role in giving less talented teammates time to get involved.

Play fair. Cheating is not allowed.

Follow the instructions. Highlight the importance of listening to coaches and referees and following their directions.

Show respects the other team. If the competitors win, accept defeat, acknowledge their abilities, and move on. If your team wins, refrain from boasting - that's what it means to be a noble winner.

Endorse your teammates. Praise your teammates for what they are doing well and cheer them up when they make mistakes. Parents should model this behavior for their children. Respect the decisions of referees and other officials. 

Handshakes. Good athletes love sports and are good at ending games on a positive note, whether they win or not. Negative expressions are unacceptable.

By constantly teaching and practicing this behavior to your child, he will learn to appreciate good sportsmanship and will respect coaches, teammates, opponents and referees. So always be careful with the fleeting comments and instructions you give your child to be the best role model you can be.

It is important to find good coaches and organizations that will help you develop good sportsmanship in your child, who will make sportsmanship a major part of their training program. Here at Hadigro, we are focused on developing not only good athletes, but also good people, and the coaching and support staff are specially selected for their ability to instill these values.

Have you decided to educate sportsmanship in your child? Look no further! Book tickets to sport activities in Azerbaijan right now!