Updated: May 20, 2020
Here are five tips to boost sportsmanship in young players-and help them prepare for life in the process.
Sportsmanship Tip No.1: Find a Role Model
Character is a word that gets used often, but its true meaning may be hard to explain to a young mind. It's ultimately a choice to hold oneself to a higher standard. By raising standards early, a footballer can both give and expect mutual respect during their course of competition.
Find a pro footballer the child idolizes, and is a good character athlete, and have them "visualize" themselves acting as that athlete would. (Just hope they don't pick Vinnie Jones !)
Sportsmanship Tip No.2: Give 110 Percent
One way to instill the idea of sportsmanship is to let the footballer know that they should do their personal best and to treat teammates and opponents in the same fashion they wish to be treated. This age-old idea will help them become an admirable and respected competitor, and help them off the field as well.
Sportsmanship Tip No.3: Forget the Numbers
It's important to the young athlete to understand that for as many victories as they hope to have, they must face losing if they're going to play football.
An effective method is to have a young footballer pick out well-known popular players / teams, and look up their statistics. Knowing that professional footballers have faced defeat can teach the young competitor to deal with loss rationally and graciously.
Sportsmanship Tip No.4: What (Not) to Do
Dealing with adversity and authority figures in sports is another challenge that young athletes must face. This is another instance where the proper explanation of how situations should and should not be dealt with, as well as examples from professional sports, should be used.
One can easily find examples of the proper and improper handling of referees and officials, to provide visual examples to back up instruction. (Everyone remebers Paulo DiCanio mad moment whilst playing for Wednesday. Click Here to relive)
Sportsmanship Tip No.5: Have Fun
Sometimes young footballers (and their parents) need to be constantly reminded that sports are designed to be fun. Practice and skill building should be offset by times of mucking around, perhaps practicing with silly games or funny fourfits, and not critiquing or coaching in the traditional sense.
This one little thing can do wonders in reminding the young footballer not to take anything too serious and to have fun doing what they have chosen to participate in
What experiances have you had ?