Mommy Monday: Sportsmanship

Lynchburg, VA - A new school year means fall sports are gearing up.{} Whether you have a very young athlete, or one on the varsity team, good sportsmanship is a big part of the game.

Coach Ben Martin is ready for a winning season on the football field at E.C. Glass High School. Part of his game plan is making sure his team practices its plays and sportsmanship.

"You know just working together as a team, knowing it's a team sport and trying to build that team chemistry and knowing how to play with other players," Martin said.

To have a successful athlete at this level, Martin said that lesson should start early on.

"Sometimes there is too much emphasis on winning and losing at an early age," he said. "Really at a young age for sports, it should be about fundamentals and sportsmanship."

Studies show the way your child handles winning and losing is influenced by their parents. has a few suggestions for building sportsmanship in your kids:

  • Shout words of encouragement, not directions, from the sidelines.


  • Keep your comments positive -- don't bad mouth coaches, players or game officials.


  • Don't dwell on who won or lost. Instead, ask how your child felt during the game.{} If he or she feels weak about a skill, work on it together.


  • Set a good example and be courteous toward other parents and kids.{} Congratulate them when their kids win.

It's the kind of advice Martin uses with his own family.

"I have 2 daughters who play sports and it's exciting to score in soccer or basketball but at the same time you want to teach them to work together and listen to their coach," Martin said.

It's advice that can really make your child a star on the field.

"I think it will translate into wins over losses if you have good sportsmanship because it's going to help build team chemistry," Martin said.

You can also look for good examples of good sportsmanship in professional athletes and point them out to your kids.{} Talk about bad examples and why they upset you.