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3 Tips for Raising a Good Sport

This past month, the 2014 MLB season came to a close with the wild card San Francisco Giants winning the World Series against the Kansas City Royals. The season was exciting, filled with historic pitching feats. The most memorable moment of MLB 2014, however, was Derek Jeter’s farewell tour.

Derek Jeter, legendary shortstop for the New York Yankees, led an impressive 20 year career: he helped carry his team to 5 World Series Championships, was nominated to play on the American League All-Star team 14 times, and held numerous records for the Yankee organization. Jeter was respected not only amongst opposing managers and players, but also amongst the umpire staff. During an era when it is commonplace for managers to storm onto home plate and argue calls, Jeter stayed classy. He was never one to throw a bat out of rage or turn and yell at the umpire when things did not go his way. He often demonstrated his reputation as one of the few good role models in professional sports. Thus, when Jeter finally made the decision to hang up his jersey, Major League Baseball gave him a farewell tour.

So in honor of Derek Jeter’s retirement, I give you three tips for raising a good sport of your own:

  1. Model good sportsmanship, in both wins and in losses. You are your child’s first and most formative 200211664-001teacher, so exhibit good behavior in front of them in all competitive/leisure activities, from board games to sporting events. Make it a habit to say, “Good game,” to your opponent in wins or losses, and compliment your opponents often for the things they do well. Make sure to thank coaches and referees who volunteer their time each week. And, most importantly, have fun! When your child sees you having fun regardless of the outcome, it will reinforce the belief that winning is not everything.
  2. Place emphasis on having fun, improving skills, and making friends during games and sports. It is important to recognize that there is so much more to participating in sports than winning. Sports are a great avenue for learning discipline, setting personal goals for lifelong self-improvement, making friends, and instilling a love of exercise and healthy, balanced living.
  3. What do you do when your child loses? Losing can be very tough on young egos. It’s important to not let a loss deter your child from enjoying the game. Use a loss as an opportunity to sit down and have a heart to heart conversation with your child. Be available when your child needs you and provide support and guidance. This will help you to develop a trusting relationship with your child. Looking back on my youth sports career, my fondest memories are sitting down with my dad after the game over a milkshake recapping the things I did well and things I could work on. I don’t remember how many games I won or lost, but I’ll always remember those milkshakes! (Click here on more tips on what to do when your child loses a game.)