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How to be good at sports

09 Mar The Importance of Teaching Kids Good Sportsmanship

It’s no secret that children are especially impressionable. When it comes to good sportsmanship, kids look to their coaches and parents as examples of how to act.

Developing 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. Good sportsmanship builds teamwork, character, and teaches respect, honor, discipline, kindness, inclusion, resilience, perseverance, and more.

The benefits of good sportsmanship are many. When kids enjoy active play, they look forward to sports and exercise as a chance to make new friends and develop new skills. Good sportsmanship encourages everyone to do their best, boosting confidence and showing the rewards of hard work, goal setting, and collaboration.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when teaching kids how to be good sports:

Remember the Golden Rule:
Always treat others how you’d like to be treated. Empathy benefits everyone and is an especially crucial skill for little ones to learn. When children think about how their words and actions impact others, they learn how to treat others with care. This builds respect, compassion, and friendship between classmates, teammates, and more.

Practice What You Preach:
Parents, coaches, and teachers should remember that kids are always watching, so practice what you preach and remember the golden rule.

Actions Speak Louder than Words:
Don’t just talk about good sportsmanship. Demonstrate it. Shake hands with the coach or parents of the opposing team or act out giving a congratulatory hi-five to an opponent even when you lose the game.

Fun and Fitness Go Hand-in-Hand:
Establishing healthy habits early can encourage kids to continue an active lifestyle for years to come. Winning and losing are part of the game, but above all fitness should always be fun. Make sure your amazing athletes look forward to play time as motivation to stay active and thriving.

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How to be good at sports

Athletes frequently discuss the influence their instructors have had on them as sportsmen and as persons (both positive and negative). It is critical to comprehend this effect in order to succeed as a Sports Coach. Coaches can use the following advice to improve their chances of having a good influence on their players.

Role Model

Sports coaching is far more than simply showing up and allowing your athletes to run for hours. As a trainer, you must be prepared to offer practice sessions and game days that are tailored to the players’ requirements. Perhaps you’re not prepared to mentor yet if you’re not questioning yourself, “What really is the greatest thing I could do for my players?”

In the spirit of competitiveness, coaching teams may be deeply charged, and a competent coach must be able to handle this. Are you able to keep your cool under duress? This is an important talent that may be honed. As a coach, keep in mind that you are a “commander,” and people look up to you as a leadership role model.

Involve Parents

Include parents from the start to enhance the likelihood of their assisting all through the season. This support might take the shape of assistance during your training sessions on match day, or it could just be an encouragement for your positive views.

From the beginning:

  • Motivate them to offer any assistance or guidance they are willing to give.
  • Organize a meeting to discuss your coaching style and season objectives.
  • Urge parents to support your coaching style and objectives.
  • Encourage them to be great role models for their kids.
  • Prove that you’re willing to listen to their problems and worries.
  • Emphasize that their child’s growth is a collaborative effort.

Patience is required of all instructors. In the best of circumstances, directing a group of players through the progression of skills is difficult. It may, however, be quite lucrative. Pause, count to ten, assess the issue, and then either proceed or attempt a different tactic if your endurance is becoming thin. Keep your cool. If this is a recurring problem for you, seek an experienced coach or mentor who can provide you some further advice.

Maximum Participation

If you’ve ever mentored players, you know how important it is to have a wide range of skill sets on your team. An inclusive coach learns and alters operations and games to guarantee that all athletes, irrespective of age, sexuality, impairment, skill level, or ethnicity, have the best chance of participating.

Athletes must practice a great deal if they are to be better.

Incorporating small-group practices and activities with a lot of gear can allow the athletes to hone techniques and abilities more swiftly. Having to wait in long queues is a pointless exercise.

Observation

Coaches enjoy talking. However, there are times when they must step back and monitor what is going on while allowing their players to practice.

What should you really be evaluating?

Seek strategies to promote involvement within the team

Is there anything wrong with the exercise or approach that the athletes are struggling with?

Is there a specific athlete that requires your assistance?

Are the sportsmen following your directions, or do you need to explain things again?

There are instances when athletes need to concentrate on their practice in complete silence.

Reduce the number of coaching points to a minimal level. Athletes often only recall one to three points, so you’re wasting your energy beyond that.

Also, listen attentively while you’re doing it. Athletes may give a plethora of information on the effectiveness of your training.

Based on the analysis, provide comments to the players. Feedback is a fantastic method to learn and grow.

Keep in mind that body language accounts for more than 60% of all messages. Make sure your actions reflect your words, and wherever feasible, demonstrate rather than tell.

  • ENTER
  • Services
    • Player Age Verification
    • Event Age Verification
    • Event Team Registration
    • E-Sign Waiver Management
    • Sell Your Sports Products
    • Custom Sports Websites
    • Sports Internet Marketing
  • Features
  • Help
    • How to Get Child Verified
    • How to Get Team Verified
    • Help Desk – How To’s
    • NSID Verified Sports Event
    • Some FAQ’s
  • Partners
  • Sports Blog
  • Contact

How to be good at sports

Athletes frequently discuss the influence their instructors have had on them as sportsmen and as persons (both positive and negative). It is critical to comprehend this effect in order to succeed as a Sports Coach. Coaches can use the following advice to improve their chances of having a good influence on their players.

Role Model

Sports coaching is far more than simply showing up and allowing your athletes to run for hours. As a trainer, you must be prepared to offer practice sessions and game days that are tailored to the players’ requirements. Perhaps you’re not prepared to mentor yet if you’re not questioning yourself, “What really is the greatest thing I could do for my players?”

In the spirit of competitiveness, coaching teams may be deeply charged, and a competent coach must be able to handle this. Are you able to keep your cool under duress? This is an important talent that may be honed. As a coach, keep in mind that you are a “commander,” and people look up to you as a leadership role model.

Involve Parents

Include parents from the start to enhance the likelihood of their assisting all through the season. This support might take the shape of assistance during your training sessions on match day, or it could just be an encouragement for your positive views.

From the beginning:

  • Motivate them to offer any assistance or guidance they are willing to give.
  • Organize a meeting to discuss your coaching style and season objectives.
  • Urge parents to support your coaching style and objectives.
  • Encourage them to be great role models for their kids.
  • Prove that you’re willing to listen to their problems and worries.
  • Emphasize that their child’s growth is a collaborative effort.

Patience is required of all instructors. In the best of circumstances, directing a group of players through the progression of skills is difficult. It may, however, be quite lucrative. Pause, count to ten, assess the issue, and then either proceed or attempt a different tactic if your endurance is becoming thin. Keep your cool. If this is a recurring problem for you, seek an experienced coach or mentor who can provide you some further advice.

Maximum Participation

If you’ve ever mentored players, you know how important it is to have a wide range of skill sets on your team. An inclusive coach learns and alters operations and games to guarantee that all athletes, irrespective of age, sexuality, impairment, skill level, or ethnicity, have the best chance of participating.

Athletes must practice a great deal if they are to be better.

Incorporating small-group practices and activities with a lot of gear can allow the athletes to hone techniques and abilities more swiftly. Having to wait in long queues is a pointless exercise.

Observation

Coaches enjoy talking. However, there are times when they must step back and monitor what is going on while allowing their players to practice.

What should you really be evaluating?

Seek strategies to promote involvement within the team

Is there anything wrong with the exercise or approach that the athletes are struggling with?

Is there a specific athlete that requires your assistance?

Are the sportsmen following your directions, or do you need to explain things again?

There are instances when athletes need to concentrate on their practice in complete silence.

Reduce the number of coaching points to a minimal level. Athletes often only recall one to three points, so you’re wasting your energy beyond that.

Also, listen attentively while you’re doing it. Athletes may give a plethora of information on the effectiveness of your training.

Based on the analysis, provide comments to the players. Feedback is a fantastic method to learn and grow.

Keep in mind that body language accounts for more than 60% of all messages. Make sure your actions reflect your words, and wherever feasible, demonstrate rather than tell.

On the field or court, players and coaches are praised for a team’s success. Yet behind the scenes, the-front office executives are the true heroes of the story. Whether it’s a rebuilding season or the team just won the NBA Finals, a general manager holds the key to every win, loss, player and coach. Even the 2017-2018 Golden State Warriors championship win cannot solely rest on the shoulders of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. Who do you think got those three powerhouses on the team in the first place? The point is, general managers are the ones pulling strings and making decisions for a team to be successful. So, if you’re a college student pursuing sports management and your dream is to become a GM, look no further than this guide.

Check out the road to becoming a general manager.

What does a General Manager for a sports team do?

The general manager is the architect of a sports team and the backbone of the entire organization. The job itself consists of making executive decisions for a team/organization, constructing meetings, negotiating with other teams and creating projects and solutions to problems that could arise. This position will also evaluate player contracts and salaries. A general manager for a professional team deals with multi-million-dollar athlete contracts.

A general manager also takes on the role of putting out a product (athletes) that will keep fans happy and invite new viewers. So basically, their job is to have a winning team. “As a manager, you’re part of the support staff that makes sure everything runs smoothly on game day. The stuff you do during the week ahead of matches allows the coaches and players to focus just on competing, which means they have a better chance to perform at their best,” said Coley Hungate, manager of University of Florida’s Women’s Tennis team. As the game begins, the general manager turns the responsibility over to the players.

How to be good at sportsunsplash.com

To summarize, the job consists of:

1. Leading a team/organization
2. Making executive decisions for the team/organization.
3. Leading meetings with other executives and staff
4. Negotiating player and coach contracts.
5. Negotiating trades between other teams.
6. Managing the team’s budget
7. Increasing revenue (Product)
8. Reviewing ethical and legal disputes

What does it take to become a General Manager? (Requirements and Skills)

So, if you want to pursue the dream of being a general manager, you should probably know about sports, finances, business, law and ethics. Seems like a lot, right? Well, several degrees can get you to this position. However, receiving a Bachelor’s in Sports Management is probably the smartest decision, considering that it covers the social, ethical, lawful and economic aspects of sports. So, if you are a college student already studying it, great. Many general managers have combined a sports management degree and a business degree to have complete knowledge of the job. Most employers look for a bachelor’s degree in either. It is also essential to build your resume with jobs similar to a general manager to get real experience that makes an employer want to hire you. Becoming an assistant general manager would definitely catch an employer’s eye.

Three Key Skills

To become a general manager, rise to the challenge by reaching to nail down these essential skills. As the executive decision-maker for players, staff and coaches, the for general manager must be communicative. Important roles consist of communicating with other teams to make trades, discussing salaries, reviewing legal disputes and holding meetings.

Second, a general manager must be a leader. Many problems arise in the sports industry, and a team must have a firm foundation with someone making decisions for the betterment of the entire organization.

Third, a general manager must be disciplined. This position requires dedication, organization, time and energy. While those three skills are vital, keep these other skills in mind.

1. Time Management
2. Interpersonal
3. Energetic
4. Responsible
5. Reliable
6. Passionate
7. Transparent
8. Trustworthy

What should you know about becoming a General Manager?

What will my income look like as a general manager?

A booming business, working within the sports industry can generate a lot of money. Because of the demands required of your as general manager, the pay for this position is higher than others. Depending on the sport, salaries can vary. According to Bleacher Report, in the NFL and NBA, general managers make around $1 million to $3 million. That can vary based on team success. For college, general managers make an average base pay of $89,240 each year.

What’s the workload like?

Once again, depending on the organization or company that you work for, the work schedule can vary. To keep it simple, most general managers work 40 hours a week during the regular season and playoffs. Yet, because of a sports’ sporadic nature, you can probably expect to work overtime many game nights. The good thing about working in sports is there is always a postseason, where the workload of a GM simmers down.

What kind of environment does a general manager work in?

The work environment of a general manager is chaotic, fast-paced and at times, stressful. (Especially during game days.) In the sports industry, you surround yourself with athletes, coaches, staff, other executives and fans. Most general managers will spend time in an office with other executives when they do not hold meetings or watch the games. While the job requires energy and dedication for more demanding projects, you spend a big chunk of time working at a desk.

Is the future of becoming a general manager secure?

Fortunately, the constantly evolving and changing sports world gives you some job security. Sports teams will always need general managers, considering they make the executive decisions. As long as you are good at the job, you will be pretty secure. Even in a pandemic like COVID-19, general managers are still making an impact on teams, athletes, coaches and staff of sports teams.

Reviews

“Being a manager is a weird balance between being a player and being a coach. You have to be able to handle a lot of criticism. There’s a lot of discretion that comes along with the job,” said Devon Smith, manager of UF’s Men’s Tennis team.

“It’s hard work, and it’s not particularly glamorous, but it’s rewarding seeing the players and your school succeed partially because of things you helped do. It’s important to love the job because it can be a grind and if you love the sport, that goes a long way in fostering that connection,” Hungate said.

“I think most people don’t realize the time commitment that is necessary to be a successful manager. The best advice I could give someone interested in becoming a manager is to be sure that they are willing to commit fully,” said Clay Everett, manager of UF’s Soccer team for two years.

How to be good at sports

Have you ever been to a game where people yelled obscenities at the players or referees? Have you ever seen parents belittle other people’s children for making a bad play? Letting negative emotions and outbursts steal everyone else’s enjoyment can get these people kicked out of the game. Or worse, it could cause a fight in the bleachers.

Good sportsmanship doesn’t end at the edge of the field or court. It continues into the bleachers filled with spectators who are most likely cheering for a favorite team or player. Whether you’re there to watch a professional team or your child’s Little League game, following proper etiquette will make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone there.

Parking Lot

When you first arrive, park in a legal spot. Whether your team wins or loses will be a moot point if your car has been towed during the game. Avoid taking more than one space, or you come back to find that someone who isn’t such a good sport has keyed your car.

Getting Seated

Find your seat as quickly as possible and be respectful of those around you. If a short person is sitting behind you, don’t lift a toddler onto your shoulders, blocking the view. If someone in front of you consistently blocks your view, politely let them know. Try not to take more space than needed on crowded bleachers.

During the Game

Positively cheer for your team. When someone makes a good play, it’s okay to yell out your support. During an exciting play, go ahead and stand with the crowd. Most athletes enjoy hearing cheers from the stands.

Avoid obscene language. Even during close and spirited games between strong rivals, foul language never does anyone any good. Most people don’t want their small children exposed to obscenities and adults who can’t control their bad manners.

During children’s games, leave the coaching to the coaches, even when you don’t agree with their calls. The coaches know more about the players as a group than anyone in the stands, and anything you holler might confuse the players. Avoid shouting at the children. They’re the ones on the field or court doing their best and trying to win a game. If they make a mistake, trust the coaches to let them know. On the flip side, don’t cheer when a player on the other team makes a mistake.

After the Game

Spectator sportsmanship continues after the game is over. As you leave the stands, avoid getting into an altercation with other spectators. There are gracious ways to deal with people spoiling for a fight. For example, don’t make eye contact or leave a comment that will rile up the angry person. And, don’t push or shove your way to the exit.

If you are there for a children’s game, avoid making any comments about children from either team. You never know when the other child’s parent, family member, or friend might be in listening distance. Most parents are extremely protective of their kids, and they’ll do whatever they can to protect them.

Players and coaches always appreciate kind remarks after the game is over. If you have the opportunity to talk to them, let them know you enjoyed the game, even if your team lost. Never tell them what they did wrong. First of all, it’s too late for that. Secondly, the coaches probably already know. The children already feel bad about any mistakes they made, and there is no need to embarrass them at this point further.

If the coach or parent leader has a special event planned for after the game, offer to help. Most of the time, they can use an extra pair of hands. If you have the financial resources to offset some of the cost, offer that as well. Use this time to reinforce the children’s efforts on the field or court.

Quiet Sports

Some sports require silence during specific times during the game or match. Respect this by honoring the rules and signals from the officials. Golf tournaments, billiards, and tennis matches require concentration, and a sudden sharp sound can ruin a good play.

Officials will have other rules in place that you need to honor. If you see boundary ropes or markings, don’t cross them. Many tournaments and matches forbid the use of cameras or flashes. Some events ban the use of signs and banners because they can distract players and obstruct the view of other spectators. Put your cell phones on silent.

The best sports teams are made up of players who work together and are willing to make sacrifices. A team with unselfish players who support each other will generally perform better than a group of individuals that doesn’t play as a team. This is why, in addition to working on individual skills, it’s also important to learn how to play with others.

Here are five tips to help kids be a great team player.

Be a “We Player” Not a “Me Player”

How to be good at sports

A “me player” is only concerned with the aspects of the game that affect him or her, such as how many points he or she scores. If the player doesn’t benefit from something, then he or she is not going to do it.

A “we player” understands that he is part of a team, and is committed to helping the team win, regardless of his individual role. If you’re unsure of what type of player you are ask yourself this question, “Would I be happier if I played really well and the team lost, or if I didn’t play as well but the team still won?” The answer to this question will determine whether you’re a “me player or a “we player”.

Work Hard and Encourage Others

How to be good at sports

Not every player on your team will be motivated to work hard, and some of your teammates may need some encouragement to practice and get better. So the next time you go to the gym or the field to work on your game, bring a teammate or two with you.

Encourage your teammates to spend time developing their skills. The extra practice will help all of you improve, and working together will help you bond as a team.

Sacrifice for the Team

How to be good at sports

Not everyone can be the hero all the time. To win games, players must be willing to make sacrifices for the team. In basketball, this might mean diving on the floor after a loose ball; in football this could mean making a great block to help a teammate score.

No matter what sport you play, you will need to make certain sacrifices to help your team win. To be a good team player, you need to do the little things that may go unnoticed, in order to help the team.

Cheer for Your Teammates

How to be good at sports

Cheer for your teammates when they make a good play. Even if you’re not playing well and feel discouraged, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and continue to encourage your teammates. This isn’t always easy to do, but it can help boost your team’s morale.

Don’t Point the Finger

How to be good at sports

When things go wrong during the season, it’s easy to blame someone else. It’s very important, however, that you learn to stick together as a team and pick each other up after a loss. No one is ever going to be perfect, especially in sports, and mistakes are inevitable. Learning to overcome a loss and correct mistakes is what makes a team improve over time. A good team player can stay positive, provide encouragement and help the team stick together through tough times.

Recently, while watching one of my 7-year-old daughter’s softball games, I felt a wave of peace. This was my freedom: I didn’t care what happened during the game.

I didn’t care if we won. I didn’t care if we lost. I didn’t care if my daughter got a hit. I didn’t care if she struck out. I didn’t care if the other parents spoke to me. I didn’t care what moves the coach was making. I didn’t care whether what was happening on the field would affect my daughter’s future prospects as a softball player. None of it mattered — and, as a result, I am enjoying the sports parent experience so much more. The likelihood my child and I are heading down a path that ends with me filing a $40 million lawsuit over playing time has diminished considerably.

Now, it would seem counterintuitive and downright negflectful for a parent not to care. But I’ll define what I mean by, “don’t care.” For the benefit of one particular reader of mine — my daughter’s softball coach — “not caring” doesn’t mean that I have no desire to support my daughter and her team, and see them do well. It doesn’t mean I make a point of being actively hostile to the other parents. It just means that I’m taking things, as the sports cliche goes, one game at a time. For me, my daughter’s games are truly just games, and any benefits — social, athletic or otherwise — are gravy.

Of course, my version of not caring is easier to do when you have a team with a good coach, as my daughter does, and I’m not just saying that because he reads this blog. In fact, my wife and I requested during league signups that our daughter stay with this coach another year, which seems the opposite of “not caring.” I use the phrase “don’t care” not like Pierre from Maurice Sendak’s “Really Rosie,” as some sort of hostile cudgel of apathy. It’s about not getting so caught up in the day-to-day ups and downs of the youth sport experience that it takes away from the enjoyment of watching your child play.

This state of bliss didn’t come overnight. My 7-year-old is youngest of four, and years of being a parent and coach have pushed me at times to care about the wrong things, to the detriment of myself, my family, my kids, and those I’ve coached and their families. Not anything abusive, or anything that went viral. More of your garden-variety stuff that adds up after a while. So how can you reach the state of bliss I’m feeling without a decade-long road? My advice:

1. Stop thinking of your child’s performance as reflective of your quality as a parent. Some kids are naturally gifted in, or are drawn to, a particular activity; some pick dandelions in the outfield. It’s natural when your child is in a sport, probably the first time you’ve seen him or her perform right in front of you in public, to want the child to do well, and to participate as fully as he or she can. But part of the process of childhood is him or her (and you) learning likes and dislikes, using sport not merely as a means to win or lose, but as an act of self-discovery. Sometimes that discovery is: my kid hates basketball.

2. Stop thinking of your child’s performance as part of an inexorable process ending in a college athletic scholarship. Once my wife mentioned to a few people she knew that our now-10-year-old son was in a bowling league, and their first response was along the lines of, you know you can get a college scholarship for that? As it turns out, yes, we did know. But that the question was even asked gives you an idea of the angst about getting that all-important scholarship, which is not an irrational desire given the current lack of affordability of a college education. If your child shares that goal and loves the sport so much he or she wants to make it a full-time job, great. But for most of us, sports isn’t a means to an end (as you could guess by the name of this blog). At least, not to a financial end. So relax and stop plotting out your 4-year-old’s soccer career.

3. Stop thinking of your kids’ games as a place to be the popular person you never were in high school. I’m not arguing against being social with the other parents. After all, you sit with them a lot, and it’s good for everyone to get to know each other if for no other reason than to have a network of other drivers in case work runs late. If you make friends, awesome. But the point of the activity is your child’s joy and improvement, not so you can be king or queen bee of the sideline. Be a friend to others, but don’t go into a season desperate to make them. As it turns out, it’s harder to make friends that way, and worrying about where you are in the parental pecking order is stress you don’t need.

4. Take your cues from your child. Does your child care that she struck out three times in softball today? No? Then why should you? And a good answer is not, “Dang it, she SHOULD care!” As a sports parent, your job is to be aware of how your child is really feeling — not projecting your own feelings, or telling him or her how to feel — and acting on that. This helps you decide on the right times to actually care. And by “care,” I don’t necessarily mean “march down to that coach or league official and tell him what for.” It’s about getting to know what makes your child happy about the sports experience, and what makes your child upset. It’s about getting to know if the problem is the sport, the people in it, or something else. And it’s also about hashing out those feelings in the privacy of your own home, instead of, say, on the field, right after the game.

Watching your child play a sport will always be an emotional experience. I may officially not care, but I get up and cheer when my daughter get a hit, and I root for her team. Hey, I bought one of the team T-shirts the coach produced, and I wear it proudly. But I do it for the moment of play — not for my own ego, not for a scholarship, not for anything but what’s happening in front of my face. I don’t know if that will give my daughter a long athletic career. But it certainly gives the both of us peace of mind.

The lessons we learn and the benefits we earn.

In 1974, a sports journalist named Heywood Broun famously said, “. sport doesn’t build character. Character is built pretty much by the time you’re six or seven. Sports reveals character.” [1]

In a recent article in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence [2], Mr. Broun’s ideas have found some solid scientific support. Character does seem to be based on foundations that are built in the early ages and participation in sports seems to bring out the best in children with good character. What Mr. Broun missed in his statement is a linkage between these two ideas; namely, that participation in sports in the early ages can predict positive character traits, which lead to increased motivation to participate in sports, which in turn lead to the development and expression of character. In other words, the ways that children express themselves as they prepare for and engage in sports do reveal character, but the character that is revealed may have a basis in their sports participation.

Participation in sports creates character, builds character, and reveals character.

When children participate in formal or informal sporting activities at early ages, the focus is usually on fun. Most coaches and parents are not expecting a 6-year-old to be very good at soccer. I can tell you from personal experience that a soccer game among 6-year-olds is not exciting. But it is cute. The players look incongruent in their uniforms, and the soccer ball that they’re kicking in errant directions is bigger than their heads.

In most cases, these opportunities that children have to play on a team at an early age are saturated with praise from parents on the sidelines, and kind feedback from coaches, who are volunteers with no “skin in the game.” These are not cut-throat matches, and everyone gets a chance to play. In some cases, no one even keeps score.

Most 6-year-olds on a team are at similar heights, weights, and levels of ability. Attempts are made to create a low-risk environment for each child to try out different positions, strategies, and methods of playing. There is positive reinforcement given for trying, not just succeeding, with a lot of value placed on “doing your best.”

In the field of education, this kind of learning environment is called scaffolding. Scaffolding happens when you take a child at her current level of ability, and then you guide her through the effort of attempting something that is just above that level. With scaffolding, coaches, educators, and parents are looking to increase the chances that a child will succeed, but also want the success that she achieves to feel like an actual accomplishment.

If your child already knows how to add 2+2, you can give him a math problem that asks him to add 2 and 2 together. He will succeed in getting the answer, but he will not likely feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. If, however, you see that your child has mastered the addition of single digits, you can guide him toward understanding how adding a single-digit number to a double-digit number is only slightly more complicated than what he already knows. When he successfully answers the problem 21+4, he can feel proud of himself.

The pride that your child can have when she solves a math problem that requires a new set of skills is psychologically similar to the pride she can feel when she learns how to kick the soccer ball with the side of her foot or pass the ball between two cones. A good coach will start with cones that are wide enough for everyone to be able to kick a ball between, and then gradually make the spacing between the cones narrower.

The research from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence that was cited above suggests that these early experiences are “critical for the development of preliminary motivational beliefs.” Now, what are those? Motivational beliefs rest on a belief in self-competence. When a child believes that she can accomplish the task at hand, even if it is slightly challenging, she is motivated to try hard to succeed. This research I am summarizing here points to a very interesting circular pattern; namely, early participation in sports is related to perceptions of self-competence, which is related to higher levels of motivation, which is in turn related to a greater desire to continue participating.

This pattern seems to work in almost any area of life. If you try something and find that you are good at it, you are more motivated to try to get better. As you get even better, your interest in and liking of the activity will increase. Competence is a foundational need. The more opportunities you have to play in a low-risk environment, where winning is less important than fun, exercise, and social contact, the more likely you are to continue participating. As a consequence, you are bound to get better.

In a time where child obesity rates are disturbingly high, providing your child with early level physical activity is a great gift you can give, which can very well lead to a lifetime of health, physical activity, social competence, and well-being. Take your child outside and get him moving around. While you’re at it, move around with her. There’s no lower risk environment than playing with your child, and the benefits to both of you are outstanding.

[1] 1974 May 2, The Salina Journal, Heywood Hale Broun will speak at KW, Quote Page 12, Column 2, Salina, Kansas. (Newspapers_com)

[2] Dawes, N. P., Vest, A., & Simpkins, S. (2014). Youth participation in organized and informal sports activities across childhood and adolescence: Exploring the relationships of motivational beliefs, developmental stage and gender. Journal of youth and adolescence, 43(8), 1374-1388.