I don’t think I can count the number of hours I have sat on the sidelines watching my boys play sports. In all that time, I can honestly say I have seen some of the craziest behavior. Oh, and I don’t mean from the players, I mean from the parents. I am sure many of you have stories you could share too!
After just sharing about Sportsmanship for Kids, we feel that Sportsmanship for parents is equally important. Keep in mind that our kids are watching us. They will emulate what we do. Following these 5 Sportsmanship Tips as you watch your kids play will model ideal behavior. Then watch as the positive behavior trickles down to their actions.
ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS
What we say to our kids puts pressure on them, whether we realize it or not. Skip the “lesson” after EVERY game about what your kid “should have done” or how he “could have made a better play if he….”. Instead, before the game remind your player to “Have fun and play hard.” After the game ask them if they had fun and start a discussion from there…based on their cues. They know what mistakes they made in the game, and don’t need a reminder.
Quit yelling at the umpire/referee. Quit yelling at the coach. Quit yelling at the players.
- Your kids have a coach for a reason. During the game, he’s in charge. So if the ump makes a bad call, relax! Not every call is perfect and if it’s totally out of line, or needs some discussion, the coach will take care of it.
- The players don’t need to see parents yelling at a coach. They need to learn to respect the coach’s decisions, and seeing a parent razz the coach only makes them second guess what their coach is saying.
- These kids are just kids. Not every player, not even your child, will make the best playing decisions every time they are on the field. Give the kids a break. Instead of telling them what they did wrong, let them know they’ll get the play next time.
You may not have thought about cheering “appropriately”, but there are definitely some things to think about it.
- Do you ever catch yourself only cheering only for your kid? Remember on a TEAM sport…there’s a whole TEAM to cheer for. Make sure you are encouraging other kids on the team.
- Cheer on the coach, in front of the players. Cheer on the umpire/referee. No, not during the game, but afterward, as you pass them leaving the game, a simple “good game.” is all they need to hear to feel appreciated.
- Did your team win? It’s always a great feeling, but don’t forget what it feels like to lose. Having an obnoxious cheer session after the game makes the other team’s players and parents feel small. It’s great to celebrate a win, but don’t be over the top in how you celebrate in front of others.
No one is perfect. No one. We all make mistakes. My husband is a pretty quiet parent in the stands, he keeps his cool and is very careful in what he says. We had gone years without him ever over-stepping any inappropriate boundaries. And then there was the day…during a baseball game where an extremely bad call was made and he stood up in the stands and gave the ump a really, really hard time about the call.
Ouch. it wasn’t pleasant for anyone. Him, the ump or onlookers. But what I do remember was his willingness, after the game, to walk up to the ump and apologize. This speaks to everyone.
If you over step your boundaries during a game, make sure to apologize, not just to the person you yelled at, but also to your kid. Let them know you were wrong.
RESPECT THE OTHER TEAM
I am alway impressed after a game on our way out of the ball park, when players and parents from the other team walk by and say “good game”, “great pitching” or “nice hit to center”. Win or lose it’s always nice to hear those comments, especially from the other team. Start modeling this for your kids. Try to give someone, a player or coach, a kind word on your way out of the game. It makes an impression. The other team will remember your team for their kindness.
Are there any other sportsmanship qualities you feel are important for parents? Share them with us by commenting below!