Every person who has ever taken part in athletics has been told, one time or another, to “be a good sport” or to “have a positive attitude.”
And, while hearing those things over and over again can sometimes be a bit frustrating, they are true statements and solid advice. Good sportsmanship, especially for young players, is a key part of being a good all-around athlete.
If you have a young player in your life and you want to stress good sportsmanship to him and foster this quality, there are many things you can do.
To begin with, make sure that you teach your young athlete to be humble in all things.
When athletes have success, show them that it’s okay to be proud of themselves, but that it’s not okay to brag or boast. Instead of having them focus on themselves and singing their own praises, teach the athletes in your life to compliment others on a job well done. When athletes take the focus off themselves and their accomplishments, they’ll have much better attitudes all around.
Everyone has seen fully grown athletes get into heated fights over a game. And, while these fights might be entertaining to watch, they set a horrible example for young athletes.
Make sure the athlete in your life knows that he should remain calm at all times and that resorting to violence, yelling, or profanity is never acceptable. Teach your athlete that, no matter what he’s faced with, he should remain calm and level-headed. Learning techniques for relaxation can also really help on this front.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to teach good sportsmanship to the athlete in your life. The most important thing of all, however, is to lead by example. This, after all, is what will ultimately affect athletes and their behavior the most.