Your child will need you more than ever for support and advice in weathering the ups and downs that go along with sports. To help your youngster build confidence and have fun, try to be actively involved in your child's endeavor and keep a good attitude. If your child becomes involved in an organized or team sport, make every effort to attend the practices and games.
In organized sports, teach your child that involvement means certain responsibilities are required-for one's self and towards other participants. Encourage your child to give activities the best effort possible, to be responsible and to respect teammates, coaches and opponents-valuable lessons in sports as well as in life.
When learning a sport, mistakes are inevitable. Parents and coaches can lower the stress level by calmly pointing out that mistakes are opportunities for valuable feedback on areas for improvement. Adults involved in children's sports also should avoid pushing too hard, overprotecting or academically delaying a child for competitive reasons.
A child learns by example. Much of what is seen and heard, and how the child is treated-on the field and off-can have lasting effects. An atmosphere that is fun and educational is likely to promote healthy self-esteem in youngsters, just as a negative and critical climate can have adverse effects. To promote an enjoyable environment, help your child follow a philosophy of "fair play." Fair play also applies to parents and coaches. Here are some fair-play points for players, parents and coaches:
- Enjoy the game!
- Respect teammates, as well as opponents, whether they are winning or losing.
- Remember that the outcome is never as important as the lasting impression of warmth, understanding and pure enjoyment of playing.
- Remember that scoring is most thrilling when it rewards a true achievement.
- Recognize that playing to win is an essential component of competition, but seeking victory at any cost defeats the true meaning of competition.
- Show respect for the referees, umpires and judges at all times, and accept their decisions in a dignified manner.
- Lose gracefully, as well as win gracefully.
- Try your best.