Almost every parent remembers when they were first introduced into the world of competitive sports. The moment when, “you are the best” becomes “you really need to pay more attention while in the field”. Sports suddenly became more of a job rather than mindless play. For some people this was a positive experience while others would rather forget it because it was endless negativity. Not everyone has the natural born talent, but many can be taught.
From a coach’s standpoint, players with great attitudes are the true winners. Children should be taught to be team players. No one person is more important than the team, so they should consider the team more important than themselves. This is why the best teams and the best players don’t always come out on top. Positive attitudes are what really win the games. Great athletes with bad attitudes don’t make their teammates feel great and usually result in not winning the championships.
From a player’s standpoint, coaches with great attitudes are by far the most important builders of a great team. Positive, rather than negative leadership can successfully produce a winning team. The Latin root of the word education means ‘” to lead out” or “to nourish, to rear, or bring up”. The coach’s job is to recognize talent and positively nurture it and bring it out of the athlete. Not every coach fills the bill. Think of the coach as the architect and builder of a great team. Building confidence with constructive and positive feedback will get the attention of the child rather than screaming when they make an error without any help or alternative being offered. Some coaches have the attitude “win at all costs”.
As a parent, when your child is introduced to the team sports, play close attention to the coach, the teammates AND the other parents – including yourself. You, as a parent, are your child’s most valuable teacher. If your child sees you acting in a non-sportsmanlike way, such as yelling at a kid for striking out, not making a basket or not catching a ball, teaches your child to be critical and in some cases, a bully. Yelling at an umpire or at a coach teaches not to respect authority. Every interaction you have with your child is an opportunity to teach them. Parents like to blame peer pressure, violent movies and video games, teachers and even society for the failures of their children. You, as the parent, need to make sure you never fail to teach and are always aware of the environment in your child’s life.
Teach your child to be a champion, not only in sports, but in life itself. Nurture their self-esteem, teach them to be kind to others as well as themselves. Most importantly, teach them positivity, even if they are losing, having a bad day, or being victims of criticism by other parents or coaches. Turn the smile upside down. Every negative can be turned into a positive!