6 Ways to Teach Sportsmanship
1. Cheer for all the players, even those on the other team. What a surprising difference it can make around the edge of the rink and in the stands when parents make an effort to applaud a good effort or a fine play - no matter which child makes it.
2. Talk to parents of the other team - they are not the enemy.
3. Be a parent, not a coach: Resist the urge to critique. Children dread their parent going over their performance in detail, pointing out all their mistakes. Sometimes just being there shows your children what being a good parent is all about. Leave the coaching to the coaches: this includes motivating, psyching your child for practice, after game critiquing, setting goals, requiring additional training, etc.
4. Thank the officials when you are able. Find a few moments to compliment the officials for their hard work after a game (especially if your child's team loses) you will be rewarded with the pleasure of seeing a surprised smile in return.
5. Keep hockey in its proper perspective: Hockey should not be larger than life for you. If your child's performance produces strong emotions in you, suppress them. Remember your relationship will continue with your child long after their youth hockey days are over. Keep your goals and needs separate from your child's experience.
6. Have fun: That is what the children are trying to do!
'One reason kids love video games so much is that they can each pick their own level of challenge'. - Lenny Wiersma, Center for the Advancement of Responsible Youth Sports
Article adapted from US Youth Soccer Positive Parenting Presentation.
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