With the Olympics in full swing we have seen a raft of different approaches to sportsmanship in Rio. Some are overwhelmingly positive, such as Valerie Adams’ reaction after her silver medal performance. She felt deservedly proud of her feat after battling back to form from multiple surgeries and took nothing away from her fellow competitor’s gold medal success. In stark contrast a member of the US women’s football team stirred controversy when she claimed they “lost to a bunch of cowards” after an unexpected defeat by Sweden.
The Olympics is the pinnacle of sport and these athletes have all made sacrifices to accommodate the intense training required to be at the top of their game. Emotions and expectations are high, much higher than on the standard Saturday sports field, but there are certainly things we can instil in our children now, using the Olympics as a wonderful example.
This code seems to have been forgotten by some at the top level of sport. Allegations of drug cheats and state sponsored doping programmes have taken some of the magic away from the Rio Olympics. Sport should be about achieving at your pinnacle and we should all remind our children regularly that their best is good enough, because putting your all in is something to be proud of.
Learn From Losses
If we didn’t have a little stumble every now and then it would be difficult to know where we could improve. Losses should be looked at as an opportunity to tweak game tactics, work to increase fitness levels and master the basics of a game once more. A loss is not cause to sulk – we need to encourage our children to accept it, move on and improve next week.
Let Performance Do the Talking
This is a good rule of thumb for both players and spectators. Kids should be vocal on the field to encourage their team, praise a good play or call for a pass. Negative words towards officials, other players and even themselves all work to make a game less enjoyable for everybody on the pitch.
We are all hoping for a few more Kiwi medals in the final days of the Olympics, but even more I am hoping for some shining examples of positive sportsmanship that can set the tone for our girls as they work towards completing their seasons and competing honourably at the annual AIMS Games and NZSS Tournament Week at the end of the month.