Good sportsmanship is displayed by athletes who treat all participants equally and with respect, whether they are team mates, opponents, or game officials. They conduct themselves with integrity and lose gracefully on and off the playing field. The media often glorifies bad sportsmanship in sports with a ‘winner takes all’ attitude. It is unsurprising that this kind of behaviour can encourage inappropriate conduct, disappointment and a focus on winning in sports for young boys. Win or lose, a real champion shows dignity, perseverance and respect at all times when pursuing their sporting passion.
Here’s how to develop good sportsmanship in your son:
1. Life lessons
The values learned from playing sports can be transferred into everyday life. The concept of fairness and hard work are values you son can apply to school, outside of the classroom and in future careers. Teach your son that that winning and losing are part of everyone’s reality and there are positives in losing. This will build his resilience and encourage him to persevere in the future.
2. Benefits of sport
Playing sport is about more than just winning a game – it is also about developing new skills, making new friends and learning self-discipline. Instead of focusing on winning, help your son to focus on improving individual skills and setting personal goals. Acknowledge and celebrate them together when they are achieved. Playing sports is a recreational activity that should be enjoyed no matter what the result.
3. Set a good example
As a parent, you are always setting an example. It is crucial to be both a gracious winner and graceful loser. As much as you want to support your son during game time, do not berate or taunt your son’s competitors, coach or referees. Instead, offer praise and encouraging words for all participants and emphasise fair and fun play so that your son can witness good sportsmanship first hand.
4. Teach humility
Remind your son to be thankful that he is healthy and able to participate in sports. Staying humble and thankful in the face of victory and defeat is a valuable life lesson as it helps boys to cope with life’s challenges. Avoid comparing your son’s performance with other team members and reinforce the point that everyone plays a crucial role in their respective teams.
5. Set the rules
It is your role as a parent to be the ultimate teacher of good sportsmanship. If you witness your son engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct, discuss it with him after the game and explain how he can adjust his mindset and the approach he should take in a situation. If your son’s coach encourages poor sportsmanship, you must make it clear to him that you do not tolerate such behaviour.
Displaying good sportsmanship encourages strong values that your son can apply to his life as he grows and develops. At Christ Church Grammar School, we are inspired to build good men who make a positive difference in the world. To learn how your son can realise his potential, download our Prospectus.