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Win and Lose with Class

LMIPP_USYSA_Article_WinLoseClass_250x350When your child’s team wins, it’s thrilling!  Everyone from coaches and players to parents and fans are excited.  When they lose, it can be gut-wrenching.  You can just feel the disappointment, frustration and sadness coming from the field.  But it’s in these moments of winning and losing that we can teach, encourage, and model good sportsmanship. With September being Sportsmanship Month, Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive® powered by Positive Coaching Alliance offers pointers for athletes, coaches, parents and fans on how to win and lose with class.

Win With Class

You did it!  You won!  It’s an amazing feeling.  It’s an extraordinary accomplishment and it reflects the hard work you put in.  But remember that your winning performance speaks for itself, so resist the urge to gloat. Your opponent worked hard and played hard.  In fact, without your opponent, you’d never have the win and you wouldn’t feel so accomplished if the challenge wasn’t a tough one.  So instead of taunting, mocking or in any way demeaning the losing team, shake hands and earnestly thank them for playing the game.  Congratulate opposing players on great plays (just because they lost doesn’t mean they didn’t have a great game filled with some terrific plays.)  

And don’t forget: it’s inevitable that someday you’ll be in your opponent’s shoes, having just played a tough-fought game and come up a little short.  Treat your opponent today how you’d like to be treated when the situation is reversed and you are on the losing end.

Winning with class isn’t just for athletes and coaches.  It goes for parents in the stands as well.   Shake hands with fans of the opposing team, thank officials for their hard work during the game, cheer for both teams when they leave the field, and stay positive.

Lose With Class

Losing can be tough, especially in close games.  It’s also really tough when the game felt like it really mattered: championship games, playoff berths or undefeated records on the line.  No one likes to lose.  But when we do, it’s important to lose with class.  While it might be tempting to blame your teammates for the loss, try not to.  It also might be tempting to blame the officials or the other side’s play as the reason you lost the game.  But afterwards we often realize that we lost the game because of multiple factors, not just one person or one call.

Try to take a deep breath, shake hands with the opposing team, congratulate them on their win, and huddle up with your team.  Take stock in all that went well in the game instead of dwelling on what didn’t go well.  And together with the coaches, make a plan for continuing to learn and improve.

Fans in the stands also need to remember to lose with class.  Being a good sport means avoiding booing, jeering, or yelling negative or harassing comments towards opposing players.  Focus on cheering for your team and not heckling the opposing team.

And it goes without saying: Foul language should have no place in youth sports.  Not only are kids on the field, but more than likely there are kids in the stands. 

Respect the other team’s fans:  they are not your enemy!  They are moms and dads just like you, passionate about their kids and their kids’ team.  While it’s easy to get caught up in the game, work hard to not bring negativity, heckling and disrespectful behavior to the youth sports field.

And finally, if your team does lose, show them your support.  Celebrate great plays and great players – the scoreboard doesn’t change either of those two things.  Cheer for them even when they lose.

So remember, winning and losing with class is the foundation for good sportsmanship in youth sports and in life.  As a fan, athlete, or coach, you are there for the love of the sport and thrill of competition, no matter what the outcome is.

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we believe that integrity matters. That’s why we created Play Positive®, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, an initiative that promotes good sportsmanship to help ensure our kids have the fun and positive youth sports experience they deserve. We are committed to providing tools and resources for parents and coaches so we can come together to provide valuable life lessons that support winning on and off the field.

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series based on the fundamental principles of sportsmanship and relevant youth sport topics, powered by the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance.

©2015 Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.


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