Rules set the structure for every sport or activity.
The unwritten rules of youth sports are just as important for you and your young athletes to know.
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Post this list on your fridge, around the house or on your car dashboard. No matter which sport your child plays, these are the real rules of the game:
1.) Respect your opponent: You don’t have to like them, but you must treat them with respect.
2.) Respect your coach: Even if they don't play you where and when you’d like.
3.) Respect your teammates: Regardless of their skill level, you can’t play the game without them.
4.) Respect the refs: Remember they are human, and they are doing their best to make youth sports fair and fun.
5.) Be a team player: The game is not about how good you look or how much you score. A true team player knows how to put the team first and make sacrifices for their teammates.
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6.) Move quickly past mistakes: Have a short-term memory when it comes to making errors. Too much focus on them will tank your game.
7.) Have Fun: Even with the hard work of practice, if you’re not enjoying the game, why are you playing?
8.) Avoid comparison: There'll always be athletes who are better than you. Focus on your own improvements and your own game.
9.) Celebrate small victories: They're the things that every game – and everyday life – is made of. Celebrating them will motivate you to push on.
10.) Always push yourself to do your best: Knowing you’ve tried your hardest – whether you win or lose – may not take away the sting of a loss, but it'll leave you with a personal satisfaction that you did all you could. No regrets.
Got any to add to the list?
Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in Youth Sports.
This is an updated version of a blog that originally published March 2, 2016.