Good sportsmanship is an important skill for every child athlete to learn. Losing can be disappointing for children just starting out in sports, so it’s no surprise that kids don’t like to do it. Finding the balance between being competitive and still enjoying the game can be difficult, so here are some tips for teaching your child to lose with grace.
Don’t focus on the outcome – Whether or not your child has won at a game or drill, focus on what they learned and accomplished. This will shift the emphasis from the competition of the game to the benefits of learning a sport. In the long run, you want your child to improve their skills and work as a team, so that should be their goal as well.
Keep it fair – Applaud good plays no matter who makes them. Be encouraging to all children. By setting an example of good sportsmanlike behaviour, your child has someone to look up to.
Start early – The sooner you teach your child to be a good sport the sooner they will grow into children who know how to respect differences and be aware of those around them. Nipping bad behaviour in the bud early on with help to develop positive teamwork habits.
Always remember the phrase “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
Soccajoeys is a non-competitive soccer program focused on improving skills while developing positive social interaction.