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How to Model Good Sportsmanship for Your Kids

Good sportsmanship is key to a positive Little League experience, and that begins with the parents. Here are 5 ways you can model sportsmanship for your kids.

Good sportsmanship is critical for positive Little League experience. We want the absolute best for our children.

Although it would be cool if they became starting shortstops in the MLB, it's invaluable that we take this opportunity to teach them leadership, respect, responsibility, and other values that will serve them for a lifetime.

Teaching sportsmanship begins with the parents. Read ahead for five ways to set an example for your kids.

What Is Sportsmanship?

Sportsmanship is about respect for the sport. That includes respect for the teammates, opponents, players, fans, referees, judges, fields, and even the locker rooms.

It's a commitment to decency and fair play above all.

Five Tips on Raisings Respectful Athletes

There are many ways to teach sportsmanship. Here are five general ways to do with a few stories of sincere respect among athletes.

1. Show Them What is Good Sportsmanship

People learn what they see. If a child is exposed only to people to exhibit poor sportsmanship, they will only try to copy them.

Teach your child the importance of sportsmanship early by teaching them about stand up players. Instead of rooting for bullies and cheats, show them examples of exceptional sportsmanship examples throughout history.

Here are just a few examples of moments when players and organizations displayed inspiring character and respect.

Derek Jeter's Send-Off at Fenway Park

There are few rivalries in sports as heated as that between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Derek Jeter, legendary baseball player and Yankee great, has been a less than popular figure in Boston during his career. Despite this, he opted to play his final game at Fenway, home to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox brought out all the VIPs, including retired stars, to give Jeter a worthy farewell, and he took the time to say good to every player. This highlights the importance of respect despite competitive and dogged rivalries on the field.

Remembering The Chapecoense Fallen

On November 28, 2016, LaMia flight 2933 crashed near Medellin, Colombia, with over 77 passengers. Among them were nearly the entirety of the first team and staff of the Brazilian soccer club, Associação Chapecoense de Futebol. Only six people survived.

The Chapecoense team was on their way to play in the Copa Sudamerica championship match for the first time in their history. Winning this tournament is one of the highest honors that a South American club can earn.

The tragedy devastated the soccer world, and their would-be opponents, Colombia's Atletico Nacional, respectfully forfeited the match and Chapecoense was awarded the coveted trophy. The things we take for granted can be lost in seconds, and suddenly sports and wins don't seem all that important.

Pete Goss

Many great athletes don't play on a field at all. This is the case of Pete Goss, a renowned British sailor, and adventurer.

Goss was participating in the prestigious 1996 Vendée Globe yacht race that spans the Antarctic Ocean. A French sailor, who wasn't even officially inscribed in the race, shipwrecked in a severe storm.

Despite precarious conditions, he selflessly abandoned the competition to join the search. Thanks to his courage and sailing ability, he found he sailor two days later stranded on a liferaft. The French government awarded him the Legion d'Honneur for his actions.

2. Integrity On and Off The Field

Sometimes it is much easier to show integrity when everyone is watching. Teach your kids how to be respectful when the cameras aren't rolling, the crowds are gone, and when it's not the popular thing to do.

Children are often exposed to bullying. Certain hazing traditions go far beyond harmless initiation rituals. Teach your child the difference between playful companionship and cruel bullying.

Great athletes support all their teammates, from the star players to the benchwarmers. The best ones use their voice and their leadership to stand up for those who need it most.

Lebron James

We all know about King James' reign of the courts. But he is also a proud father and philanthropist.

He is an active supporter of several non-profits, and he founded the Lebron James Family Foundation. His charity funded the I Promise School, an elementary school designed to help struggling students. He would go to say this was his greatest achievement in life.

He is also an outspoken critic of social issues, such as racism and inequality. A TV personality responded to one of his statements by saying that he and other professional athletes "just shut up and dribble" instead of talk about politics. Fortunately, Lebron isn't planning on shutting up but will keep inspiring young athletes to have a voice.

Kobe Bryant

The entire world was shocked by the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Vanessa, and the other passengers on that fateful helicopter crash.

Athletes, coaches, owners, and fans came together to mourn and show respect. Kobe was admired for his dedication to excellence and skills on the court. However, it soon became evident he was so much more than a basketball player.

His efforts off the court include charity work, empowerment of underprivileged children, and he even won an Academy Award for producing Dear Basketball, an animated short film.

3. Don't Be That Parent

If you ever attended or participated in youth sports, you definitely know who we are talking about. There is always at least one person making a complete mockery of themselves and the sport.

They scream profanities at the referees for every call that doesn't go their way. They sometimes even get into fights with other spectators and, pathetically, child athletes.

Naturally, your child will mimic your behavior to a certain degree. So, take it easy with the jeering and the unnecessary gloating.

4. Priorities

It seems somewhat ironic. However, one of the surest ways to foster sportsmanship is to teach that sports aren't everything.

Kids must know that there are a lot of things more important than winning trophies and setting records. Otherwise, they are less likely to value respect and honor.

Try teaching your kid a hierarchy of values. They have to know that, among other things, respect, family, responsibility, and education are more important than sports. This will help them put things in perspective when they lose or fail to meet their goals.

5. Positive Reinforcement

Remember that everyone is human and makes mistakes.

If you play sports, you have likely been there before. Maybe someone on the other team has been talking badly, and, in the heat of the moment, you commit a reckless foul, penalty, etc.

If our kid does this or gets into fights, the natural tendency might be to punish them. Modern psychology tells us there is a better way to educate our kids.

A Love For The Game

Good sportsmanship makes the game better for everyone. Sure, talking a little smack or doing a little dance after a play isn't going to hurt anyone.

Just make sure your child knows the difference between good fun, competition, and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Check out this blog for more articles Little League and being and baseball parent.

Are you interested in changing your coaching strategy but do not know where to start? Review these little league coaching tips and improve your game.

Active kids have lower health risks, have higher test scores, and are more likely to go to college. Plus, being physically active has shown to increase brain power, happiness, and overall health.

Thankfully, there are over 21 million kids, ages 6 to 17 who actively participate in team sports.

It makes sense that a team coach will play a huge role in a child's life. They have a huge responsibility when it comes to being a role model. That being said, they also want to win.

So when it comes to league coaching, what is the best strategy? Keep reading to learn 10 tips you can use to be a better coach.

1. Make Sure You Have Clear Expectations and Rules

As a little league coach, the kids you coach will need to know what is expected of them, both during practice, during games, and every time in between when you are together as a team.

If you make a rule that practice can't be missed unless a player is sick or has a legitimate reason provided by a parent, then stick to that rule.

If you have a rule that there is no talking during drills, stick to that rule. Whatever guidelines and rules you make for your team, stick to them, and make sure that your kids know exactly what they are.

Make sure that consequences are also communicated and consistent.

2. Set the Tone with Your Attitude

As a new coach, you'll earn a reputation fairly quickly. Set the tone early on with a positive attitude. If you expect your team to behave during practice and on the field in the middle of a game, the only way you'll get results is if you demonstrate that same disposition.

Make sure that bad attitudes warrant punishment, whether it be running an extra lap or doing push-ups. It doesn't have to be overly harsh, but it does have to be consistent and meaningful.

3. Don't Yell

While it's essential that team sports have structure demand perseverance, you don't have to get there by yelling. The best teachers, parents, and leaders of children refrain from yelling as much as they can.

Your team will respect you more by looking up to you rather than being terrified of you. Plus, team sports are a way to let loose and have fun, which leads us to our next tip.

4. Have Fun and Offer Rewards!

The same way that adults do, kids love rewards. And they love a chance to work harder in order to reap those benefits. Even if it's a pizza party at the end of a long month of practice or the chance to dictate the first drill before a big game, offering rewards for dedication and good behavior is one of the best teaching practices.

Having fun with your team will encourage them to want to work harder, show up for practice, and give their team their best.

5. Know ALL Your Players

Take the time to know and understand each one of your players to the best of your ability. If you want to win, you'll need to know what to say and how to treat each and every one of your kids.

Some kids need constant encouragement and validation to do their best, whereas others need distractions and responsibility.

Get to know your kids and even though you might have favorites, do your best not to show it. Nothing is worse than feeling like a weak link both on the field AND in the eyes of an adult that you look up to.

6. Feed Their Dreams

Maybe you're sure you have no chance of winning a particular game. But don't say that to your players. Encourage them that they can do anything they set their minds to. And if you lose but they played hard and worked as a team, it's almost as good as, if not better than, a win!

Teach them that hard work, dedication, teamwork, and a positive attitude can help you accomplish almost anything, even getting into the Little League World Series!

7. Build Confidence Whenever You Can

Use the hamburger method if you need to give constructive criticism. For example, if you need to tell a player something that they keep doing wrong, lead with a positive. Give them an example of something they do right, whether it's on the field or something they do for the team.

Being able to recognize positives in a child will encourage them to want to work on the other things. The last thing you want is for a player to feel hopeless. You want to encourage them both as players, team members, and as human beings as much as you can.

8. Work on Your Game and Stay Connected

This may be an obvious one, but make sure you know the ins, outs, and rules of the game. You don't want to be racking your brain when a star player asks you a difficult question.

Make an effort to apply your team's actions to real-life situations and sports history. Get them excited about the history, news, and players of your sport. And if you played in your past, give them details and stories of your journey as a player.

9. Take Advantage of Active Parents

Coaching can be overwhelming. But there are plenty of people more than willing to help. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by involved and needy parents, use them to your advantage.

Your job is to focus on the kids and try to win. So if parents offer to help with anything else under the sun, let them. It'll make your job easier.

Little League Coaching Is One of the Greatest Jobs

As long as you have the right tools and a positive attitude, little league coaching can be one of the most rewarding and exciting jobs in the world.

Be consistent. Be honest. And make an active effort to get to know your players, both as people and as athletes. And don't hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

Do you want to create a more unified team? What better way than to give your players custom baseball trading pins! Check out our design tips here.

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