We’ve all heard about someone being a “sore loser”. But when it comes to kids, losing can feel worse than ‘sore’… it can feel like the end of the world!
That’s why developing the good sportsmanship muscle is so crucial for kids. And, let’s face it, adults too.
Good sportsmanship does more than show kids how to behave politely during and after a game. Sportsmanship impacts how children interact on and off the field and beyond.But it’s more than just winning or losing. It really boils down to the heart of the matter: resilience.
By the way, a great way to learn more about sportsmanship and other important character traits thrive is to sign up for the Empowering Kids with Character email newsletter!
RESILIENCE + SPORTS
For decades, resilience was seen as the ability to bounce back from tragedies like floodsor fires. But today, resilience has a much broader meaning. It’s not about getting back to normal after facing a difficult situation. It means learning from the process and being able to better handle the next challenge. It’s not “bouncing back” but “bouncing forward” that is the key.
Your kids will likely feel happy when they win and sad when they lose. That’s just how life works. But, with your guidance, the lessons and resilience can grow much deeper.
RESILIENCE IN ACTION
Let’s take perceived unfairness as an example. Whether your child didn’t get the playing time they think they deserved or a ref made a bad call that cost them the game… a lot of outward blame can manifest on the field. It’s no wonder that good sportsmanship and resilience go hand in hand!
The key is to not be a participant in the “this is so unfair” banter and to focus on the controllable factors your child has power over. These things could include working hard at practice, shooting extra free-throwsor talking to the coach about ways they can grow as a player.
In fact, Cardinal Rule Press just released the cover reveal for their spring title, Evie’s Field Day: More than One Way to Win. This story of a little girl learning about sportsmanship and the challenges of losing will be the perfect accompaniment to your resilience lessons at home – I can’t wait!
Remember, THIS is the ultimate goal: To view perceived unfairness and difficulties as an opportunity to grow and to teach your child that it’s their actions that will determine their long-term fate, NOT external factors.
It’s a lifelong lesson!
Alternately, joining in the “it’s not fair” rant only adds fuel to the fire and promotes a victim mentality. It subtly sends the message that your child has no control over outcomes and that they are helpless which simply isn’t true.
Instead, encouraging your child’s exposure to the realities of sports and communicating personal control in response, strengthens their resilience muscle and develops a skill that will come in handy throughout life.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Empowering Kids with Character email newsletter for more character building tips and tricks.
What are some of your favorite ways to teach sportsmanship and resilience? Leave a message in the comments and tell us about it!
***Meg Keys is an award-winning advertising and marketing writer and the author of The Waiting Line – What to Do (and Not Do) When Someone You Love is Struggling with Infertility. She is fueled by her love of food, art and fluffy pets and lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and son. Find her at megkeys.com.