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How to Teach My Kids to Be Team Players

by Kathryn Hatter

The ability to perform as part of a team, for the greater good of the team as a whole, is an important skill to instill in children. Participating in team sports can be an effective way to build the team player spirit in children. As a team player, your child will understand sportsmanship and how to apply these principles to behavior and conduct.

Encourage kids to respect coaches and officials, advises Dr. Darrell J. Burnett, author and sport psychologist. Kids should never argue with or challenge decisions made by coaches or officials either on or off the playing field. Teach your child to follow coach and official instructions carefully.

Teach kids to encourage all members of the team, according to author Kevin J. Wright. All team members deserve equal respect and support, regardless of skill level. Ensure that you teach your child how to motivate and praise efforts by all team members -- "Nice hit, Jacob!"

Ensure that kids learn and follow rules of the game. Once your child learns the rules, teach the importance of abiding by the rules. Make it clear that cheating in any way is unacceptable. Encourage fair play by your child.

Model sportsmanlike conduct for your child to emulate. Demonstrate respect for coaches, positive encouragement for players and a spirit of fair play during games and competitions. Keep your enthusiasm in check, especially at games. Cheer appropriately for good plays, regardless of the team.

Encourage your child to use patience and persistence during sports play, counsels the Education.com website. Sometimes skills don't come immediately and a child needs to endure frustration while continuing to try to master a skill. If your child feels frustrated, encourage him to step back to take a break before stepping back in again.

Teach your child to congratulate the other team for efforts and for wins. The overall goal should not be winning; rather, the goal should be to play the best game possible and to enjoy the process.

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