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Good Sportsmanship Habits

Teaching Youth Athletes (in Baseball or Softball) Good Sportsmanship Habits


Youth sports can help a child learn valuable skills, such as teamwork and the value of practice and hard work. Sports also can help children build confidence, keep them fit and active, improve their self-esteem and build skills that will pave the way for success in other aspects of their lives.

One aspect of sports that should not be overlooked is that of instilling good sportsmanship habits in young children. In sports, there is both winning and losing —and children should be taught at an early age to both win and lose with dignity and class, respect the officials (or in the case of baseball and softball, umpires), and respect the opponent as well. When everyone is a good sport, the game is more enjoyable — for all involved.


How do you go about instilling good sportsmanship habits in youth athletes? Here are some helpful tips:


  • Be a good role model: If you’re a parent who is constantly berating officials and umpires, criticizing coaches and talking down to players and parents on the other team, there is a good chance that your child will follow in your footsteps. Kids are impressionable, and may still hear your comments from the stands. The same goes for when you’re watching televised sports or attending a professional sporting event — act with class and set a good example for your child.


  • Teach athletes to respect the opponent: Since both winning and losing is inevitable in sports, kids must be taught to handle both outcomes with class and dignity. It’s OK to be happy and excited about a win, and disappointed after a loss, but praise and respect should always be afforded to the opponent. Make sure your child knows this and is willing to shake hands with members of the other team after a game — win or lose. Furthermore, teach your kids to refrain from provoking the opponent, teach them how to regain their cool quickly when a heated game moment arises.

Good Sportsmanship Habits

  • Don’t cheat: You should encourage your child to play within the rules of the game. Cheating doesn’t just jeopardize the outcome of the game, but it’s an insult to the sport itself. Inform your child that cheating of any kind will never be tolerated.

Good Sportsmanship Habits

  • Good Sportsmanship HabitsRespect officials: Just as athletes should be taught to respect the opponent, they should know the importance of respecting the umpires or game officials as well. Umpires are bound to make mistakes — it’s human nature. When a bad call happens, encourage your child to simply move on. This goes for the parent and/or coach as well. If parents/coaches are harping on the umpire, it sends a negative bad message to your kids (remember the “being a good role model” tip?). As a coach, if you must address something with an umpire, it’s best to do it in an adult, courteous manner, such as speaking with him/her one on one between innings.

Good Sportsmanship Habits

  • Focus on the positives: Sports are a meaningful part of our youth’s lives, but they are not a matter of ‘life or death. It’s about your child doing something that he/she loves and about building athletic and life skills. Focus on the positives and turn the negatives into teaching moments. For example, if you’re constantly on your child about why he/she can’t make throws to the cutoff man or why he/she is unable to lay down a bunt to advance the base runners, chances are your child will berate his/her teammates for similar shortcomings. That’s a no-no.


Youth sports are supposed to be about having fun. Being a good sport — win or lose — can contribute to the overall enjoyment of participation. Don’t let poor sportsmanship ruin the experience for your kids.


Good Sportsmanship Habits 

*Shana Brenner is the Marketing Director of CoverSports, an American manufacturer of baseball and softball field protectors and covers.

Good Sportsmanship Habits


Wife. Mom. Believer. Writer. Advocate.

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I must confess, I often how well it is teaching kids, when I see managers of clubs criticize referees and officials during games, not to mention some players being silly on the pitch…

Thanks for posting

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