Being a Good Sport
By Ann V. Deaton, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Indoor or outdoor, sports are popular year-round in Richmond and the surrounding communities. Sports are great for improving physical skills, but more important is their impact on social skills and self-esteem. These are strengths that last a lifetime.
Parents can help their children get all they can out of the sports they play. Here are some suggestions:
1. Remember that children play sports to enjoy themselves. Win or lose, a game can still be a great chance to be outside and active on a beautiful day. Teach your child to congratulate the other team and to focus on all the great plays. Let them know that dealing with loss is part of life, and help them to get through it.
2. Stay positive when you are on the sidelines. Cheer for your child and the other children, including the opposing team. Don’t criticize the officials (many of whom are teenagers themselves), even if you disagree with a call they make.
3. Let the coaches do the coaching. Don’t try to coach from the stands.
4. If your son or daughter is upset about making a mistake, encourage them to think about what to do differently next time to make a better play. If your child wants to practice to improve skills for next time, take a few minutes to play together.
5. Praise your child’s effort. All you want is for your child to do their best. That’s their contribution to the team. They don’t have to be the best, just try their hardest. Help them to see that each child makes a contribution, regardless of skill level.
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