Remembering why we play sports
Reminiscing about the days when you played on your first sports team probably puts a big smile on your face. The friends you made, the coaches who helped train you, and all the fun you had taught you that there's more to the game than just winning or losing.
Unfortunately, many children today are not learning some of those same lessons because of a win-at-all-cost mentality growing throughout youth sports. For them, winning a game has become more important than the valuable lessons behind the game — the benefits of sportsmanship.
The good news is that many parents have noticed this change in attitude, and are working together to reinforce good sportsmanship in youth sports.
The 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive Sportsmanship survey of 2,000 parents and coaches from across the country shows that half of the respondents believe sportsmanship has worsened since they were growing up. While winning is exciting and a great benefit to playing sports, winning ranks last in the lessons parents and coaches want youth athletes to learn.
Parents and coaches realize that they have a unique opportunity to teach their children valuable sports lessons, including:
- Teamwork — Working together with fellow athletes to achieve a goal.
- Sportsmanship — Teammates, opponents, parents, coaches and officials treating one another with respect.
- Skills of Sport — Practicing to improve technique and skills.
- Playing Hard — Giving 100% during practices and on game day.
- Sacrifices — Committing to responsibilities and putting the team before the individual, even when tired or not in the mood.
- Winning - Being a good winner and behaving appropriately when all the hard work and practice pays off with a victory.
When parents and coaches keep what’s really important in mind during the game, they help shift the spotlight onto the impact of good teamwork, hard work, sacrifices, friendships and specific athletic skills that are all more important than winning.
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At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the mat.
In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.
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