GREENSBORO, NC -- With March Madness all around, we thought it was a good time to talk kids, sports, team and activities.
Piedmont Parent's Judy Midero says first up is the team attitude. "Look for the team that emphasizes how participants play more than a "winning is all" philosophy. " Some teams push sportsmanship, team goals and even true skill development to the background. These can be the teams where maybe only the "best" youth are played, despite work ethic or level of engagement of the others. Some teams with this emphasis may also fail to teach skills correctly, which can contribute to early injuries, particularly with young children still developing gross and fine motor skills.
Find teams that are motivating and teach the game, including best practices and sportsmanship.
This time of year, many adults are crushed or elated depending on how their basketball team is playing. We yell at the TV, we jump up and down. So how does that translate to the kids winning and losing?
"First, before the game even starts, it is a good idea to teach children it is OK to lose. No one wants to lose, but someone has to. With every defeat comes an opportunity to improve. Helping children understand this from an early age helps them grow into well-rounded competitors."
Judy says coming in at second is always encouraging children to shake hands after a game. Its not a time for showboating or rubbing the win in the other players' faces. That kind of behavior reinforces a sense of superiority and has no place in healthy, friendly competitions.
Open communication is key adds Judy. "Particularly with young children just beginning their sports interaction, there should be an opportunity to ask questions — for the youth as well as parents. Coaches who are transparent about their coaching style and expectations, listen, and encourage communication from parents typically create relatively healthy sports environments. Communication also includes teaching and developing healthy ways of managing conflict."