Our community of sports has reached a fever pitch.  There is too much pressure put upon children today to be the best at everything they do.  Many do not realize that during the days of their child’s youth, they are forming ideas of sportsmanship through the comments and compliments of coaches, parents, and teammates.  These moments are the opportune time to help define a child’s understanding of what it is to treat others with respect and integrity.

Below are 5 steps to help your children grow and develop through sportsmanship.

S – Surround your child with positive feedback at all times.  This will teach them to give positive     feedback to others.

P– Prioritize their time.  On average a child has a 2000-1 chance of getting a scholarship through athletics.  School and family need to be number one priority.  By being supportive with boundaries, they will learn to see that sports are an outlet for fun and learning new physical and mental skills.

O– Opportunity.  Give your child the opportunity to engage in several sports if they are so inclined.  The more you allow them to try, the better you gauge THEIR enjoyment.  The more positive their experience, the more positive feedback they will give to others.  Just remember the previous point.  DON’T OVERLOAD THEM!

R– Remember that most sports are always about team and structure.  Team sports often lead to friendships they will have for the rest of their lives.  When they learn to interact in a positive manner, they will be better adjusted to the curveballs that life throws at them.

T– Trust in your child to develop physically and mentally at their pace, not yours.  Many times in team sports this means we must rely on a coach or instructor to develop and ensure that our children our placed in a safe, comfortable, and friendly atmosphere.  We cannot be one dimensional in thinking that we are the only ones who know our child’s capabilities.  More often than not you will be disappointed when your child does not make a certain team or develop the skills you thought they had. This will keep them in a position to grow not retreat because they are placed in the right atmosphere for a positive experience.

S– Sit back and enjoy your child’s athletic experiences and encourage them to be team leaders when it comes to providing teammates and opponents respect.

By Kevin Gallagher. Kevin grew up playing competitive sports, is a Father of three and Coach.