Tips for Promoting Good Sportsmanship in Preteens

For many preteens, sports are in important part of their social life. It is an opportunity not only to get fit, but also to be involved in activities that they enjoy, to be a part of a group and to socialize with others with similar interests. During the preteen years, people become more aware of their own identity and part of this is where their strengths and weaknesses lie. In terms of sport, this can increase a teens awareness of winning, losing and how their personal performance reflects on them. This can be reflected in their sportsmanship, both positively and negatively. As a parent, you have the opportunity, and to some level a responsibility, to make an impact on heir child’s sportsmanship. Here are some tips for how a parent can achieve this.

Set an example

If you, yourself, are a keen sports person and your child watches you participate in your preferred sport, it is vital that you set a good example in terms of sportsmanship. Behave throughout a match as you would expect your child to behave and show respect for other players and the spectators. Setting an example of sportsmanship can extend further than sporting activities into other areas of your day to day life.

Topic of discussion

Make sportsmanship an important topic of discussion in your family. There are many different opportunities in day to day life for families to talk about sportsmanship. Whether this be during a family game on a computer console, a board game or just while watching the television, the chance to talk about good sportsmanship are plentiful.

Use media as an example

Many sporting events are televised. This is a great chance to watch sports activities together and to discuss examples of both good and bad sportsmanship. It is often possible to look at examples of how other react to poor sportsmanship. For example, after a game, there are often interviews with managers, players and fans. Any key events from a game or match will be discussed in these interviews. Poor sportsmanship is usually discussed in a very negative way and it is important that you discuss with your child how poor sportsmanship reflects negatively on them as a person in the eyes of others.

Be positive in your encouragement

As a parent spectator you also have the opportunity to promote good sportsmanship to your pre-teen from the sidelines. While offering words (or screams) of positive encouragement for your child and cheering when they are successful is a normal part of supporting your child, shouting negative comments to the opponents can impact negatively on your child’s view of good sportsmanship.

Find a good coach

There are good coaches and bad coaches, as with all professions. Try to find one that shares similar views to yourself with regards to teaching good sportsmanship from your preteen. Having another adult that they respect reinforce the messages that you are giving them will promote sportsmanship in your preteen.