Thursday, March 1, 2007

JT's Blog - Myths 7 and 8 - March 1

JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.

7) Sportsmanship is something that can only be taught by your child’s coach.

In fact, being a good sport starts at home with the parent. First, starting when they’re very young, parents should teach their child how to behave not only after a loss, but also after a win. Explain to them the right way to act. Secondly, during the heat of games, you the parent and coach have to set a positive example of how to behave especially when a call goes against your child or your child’s team. Kids watch carefully to see how you react when things aren’t going your way. Leaving the lessons of sportsmanship up to the coach is a mistake. The coach should be reinforcing good sportsmanship – not teaching it as well.

8) All coaches are created equal.

I wish this was true, but it’s just not. There are a few exceptionally good coaches. There are also a few very bad coaches. Most fall somewhere in the middle. Like anything else in life, you hope that your child is lucky enough to play for a couple of those gifted coaches along the way, and can somehow manage to avoid the not-so-good ones. Do your homework before the season begins. Ask other parents. See if you can find out which coaches care about the kids and which coaches simply care about winning. It is important to try to determine which coaches will provide the best environment for your child. Winning is not always a sign of a great coach especially at the younger ages.

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