Top 10 rules for youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/8/2018

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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Are you the parent of a youth, middle school or high school football player who’s looking for more tips or resources? Check out our Parent Guide, Parents 101 course, nutritious recipes and more.

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.