Proper Sports Enthusiasm: For Parents & Kids

Have you ever been to a ball game and witnessed this?
http://youtu.be/oM-Xg8CjqKg

Now, how does it feel?
http://youtu.be/_36OpchdG6w

Sports are ramping up again and it’s so easy to get (overly) excited for our kids, isn’t it? I’m signing my three boys up for youth soccer this year and I couldn’t be more excited to watch them play! Of course, they are only 6-years and 4-years-old, so competition isn’t an issue. (At least not for us…)

Sports can be a really WONDERFUL experience for our kids. They learn fine motor skills, learn proper socialization, develop team work, increase self confidence, build strong muscles, increase general fitness, HAVE FUN! But in the wrong environment, kids can become insecure, lose motivation and decide to reject sports all together.

As parents, we need to be role models. Here are some things to consider, moving into the 2012 – 2013 sports season:

WINNING: It isn’t everything, but it does mean something.

A winner is a person who plays to the best of his or her abilities. Yes, even the kid who continually misses the ball is a winner – especially if that kid is working really hard and having fun.

The lesson to be taught here is that being a winner is all about self-improvement. Improvement is success, and many successes (small as they may be) build a winning attitude.

SPORTSMANSHIP: Children must be taught how to win, how to lose, and how to overcome adversity.

Competition is healthy. It can build within a child a sense of purpose and drive. And winning is thrilling! But if our kids aren’t shown how to be gracious winners and also taught that losing and adversity come along with winning, they won’t really understand the value of a win and the opportunity of a loss.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Our children model us and copy us. It is for this very reason that we need to set the example and lead healthy lifestyles, maintain composure at ball games, and promote healthy interaction. We do more damage than good when we participate in our children’s sports in a manner that is less than what we would expect from them.

This year, teach your children about the intrinsic value of sports – the thrill of the goal, the chance to be with friends, the opportunities to improve oneself, the privilege of being on a team – and encourage them to play to the best of their abilities.

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