Sportsmanship – defined as ‘fair, generous and polite behaviour, especially when playing a sport or game’ – is particularly important in youth football as it can teach youngsters good habits which can last a lifetime.
SoccerKidz offer lunchtime, after-school and weekend youth soccer coaching in London for children aged between 3.5 and 11 years. Here we look at some of the key elements of good sportsmanship and how we always try to instil these values in anyone who attends our courses.
It Helps Teach Respect
Youth sports, like football coaching, help to teach respect in a variety of ways. Good sportsmanship means that the youngsters involved in the session or match learn to respect the coach or referee, even if they don’t necessarily agree with some of the decisions they make.
In this case, the respect is a two-way process so it is important for the adults – parents, as well as coaches – to set a good example. This means they should encourage everyone who is taking part and, if you do need to criticise, make any comments constructive ones.
It Helps Teach Teamwork
Sportsmanship also goes hand in hand with showing respect for fellow players, even if they are on an opposing team. This doesn’t just mean shaking hands or applauding opponents off the pitch at the end, it also means helping each other during any game or training session. You should also acknowledge good play by your opponents.
Every child involved will get more out of any activity if they learn to work together for a common purpose – whether it’s scoring a goal or mastering a specific technique.
It Helps Teach the Difference Between Right and Wrong
One of the most important lessons any child can learn is the importance of following the rules, whether it’s in a coaching session or a full match. Setting down clear guidelines as to what is and is not allowed will provide a level playing field where everyone can flourish.
This kind of good sportsmanship isn’t just about individual details, such as what constitutes a foul tackle or where you are allowed to take a throw-in from, but the importance of not cheating. This is something which can easily be translated into other sports and is a valuable lesson for their adult life.
It Means You Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Being a good sport means that the participants can also recognise that winning isn’t everything. Getting fully immersed in any sporting activity and wanting to win is an integral part of the process, but it’s essential that children in particular learn to retain a sense of perspective and that losing isn’t a disaster.
Good coaches won’t let players seize upon any mistakes by team-mates, as this can easily lead to disagreements and arguments, and what started out as an enjoyable activity often ends in tears. Remember that all sport – not just youth football training – is supposed to be fun!
Youth Football Training with SoccerKidz
At SoccerKidz we have always stressed the importance of good sportsmanship. We make sure that all children who attend learn the basic skills of the game by creating an encouraging environment. If anyone ever makes a mistake, we always provide plenty of positive feedback. Everyone who takes part receives a commemorative medal.
We run a variety of sessions, including lunchtime and after-school clubs, one-to-one sessions for more gifted players and special events like birthday parties. The current coronavirus restrictions mean we are having to focus more on individual technique, as this makes it easier to meet the social distancing requirements. All the equipment we use will be thoroughly cleaned before and after use. We are following all the FA guidelines on youth coaching during the pandemic.
We also fully embrace the work of the FA’s Respect campaign, which is committed to making youth football a safe, inclusive and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.
If you would like to know more about the courses we are offering, follow this link and complete the online form or call us on 07946 260945.