Helping children develop their sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is such a vital role when engaging in football as not only does it create a friendly and inclusive environment in which to play football, but it also teaches children important life skills.

Apr 14th 2022

Written by The Coaching Manual

The benefits of good sportsmanship

The benefits of being a good sportsman/woman are many, from building character, and learning how to function properly in a team to learning about the importance of having respect towards others. Instilling this type of behaviour into children from a young age is vital.

Firstly, it allows children to develop as well-rounded players on the pitch. Not as much in the technical aspects of the game but rather the psychological aspects. For instance, if young players learn how to be a good sportsman/woman it will help them to control their emotions on the pitch better as they will understand how to behave properly. 

Players will learn how to deal with winning and losing and how to prevent their emotions from boiling over. Check out this article which helps players to deal with the full-time results win or lose.

How can coaches/parents help?

Set a good example

Young players look up to their parents and their coaches, they are always watching and looking for guidance. The way in which parents and coaches conduct themselves on the sidelines, speak to other coaches/parents and their general demeanour should always be setting a good example of sportsmanship.

Make things fun!

Coaches should definitely be focusing on the technical development of their players so that they are improving year in and year out, however making training sessions fun for players should always be the priority.

If coaches can manage to do this consistently, players will enjoy going to football practice and will in turn have a positive attitude towards the sport. Therefore, they are more likely to behave in a more sportsmanlike manner when things aren’t going as well on the pitch.

Parents can also help to keep football fun for their children with the help of TopTekkers. Encouraging them to use the app and try the fun challenges will not only develop their fundamental football skills but should boost their enjoyment of the sport as they can engage in healthy competition with their teammates and players all around the world. Find out more here.

Incentivise good sportsmanship

As mentioned before, players should be made aware of the importance of displaying good sportsmanship and this can often be enough for them to be a good sportsman/woman.

However, it can be useful to reward players who are showing positive signs of sportsmanship so that others players will want to follow suit. For instance, creating things like sportsman/woman of the month awards.

On the flip side, coaches can also discourage signs of bad sportsmanship. For example, if a player displays poor signs of sportsmanship during a match, for whatever reason, the coach can then start them on the bench for the next game to show the player that that type of behaviour is unacceptable.

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