Has your child recently joined a sports team? Excellent! We're glad to hear it!
Team sports are an effective way to teach your child good sportsmanship, resilience and responsibility. These qualities need to be developed over time and will carry over into other aspects of their lives, at school and at home.
While these skills are learned on the field, it is also important for parents to encourage good behaviour when their child begins sports. Keep reading for tips on how you can play an active role in making your child a top team player!
Stay positive and praise good behaviour
When things go wrong in a game, a player's attitude and body language affect the other teammates. Kids should aim to remain positive, humble and respectful.
Praise your child when they cheer on their fellow teammates and for trying their hardest, rather than focusing on how many goals they scored during the game. Teach them that while they can't control the outcome of the game, they can control their reaction. Learning to be a gracious winner is equally important as being a gracious loser, particularly when playing against a friend.
Another good lesson for kids is that being a good teammate doesn't just occur on the field. If a player is injured during practice, they are sure to appreciate a teammate checking on their recovery afterwards.
Discuss the game with them
Ask questions such as "Who do you think is the best teammate and why?" or "What was an example of good sportsmanship in the game today?"
Watching games together is another way to point out examples of effective teamwork and sportsmanship. For instance, how did the player console a teammate who missed the shot? They may have encouraged them by saying "Good try" or "You'll get it next time."
Be a good role model
Children learn a lot from their parents. Losing doesn't feel great for anyone, but displaying good grace during family games can help kids who are struggling to be good teammates in sports.
From time to time, don't allow your child to win, but ensure that they know that it's okay not to win. Their self-worth should not be equated with winning. Take a break or get a snack if they start to get upset. Disappointment is fine, but not anger.
Teaching them generosity will also benefit the team enormously. While it is fun for talented players to score goals, sharing the ball with teammates makes it fun for everyone.
Winning isn't everything
It is disheartening when teammates are blamed or ridiculed for mistakes. Teach your child that despite being disappointed that a teammate missed a shot, the teammate already feels worse about it than they do.
Remember that teaching your child good sportsmanship is more important than teaching them how to win. While skills and natural talent are always great to have on the team, the kids who help others and bring up the morale of the team are the ones that really motivate and inspire the team.
Get involved in team sports with Little Rookie
Little Rookie loves seeing kids get involved in team sports and develop important skills like teamwork that will benefit them for life. From soccer to rugby to netball, we stock everything your child will need to get into their chosen team sport and become the best teammate they can be!