The team practices and practices, game day comes around, and it all pays off. They have won and your child, their teammates and yourself are ecstatic. But how do you ensure that these great wins don’t go to their heads and they handle it gracefully?
I want to preface this article by saying that you should in no way belittle your child’s victories or successes. In fact, they are actually vital to fostering confidence and belief in oneself. With that being said, there is a vast difference between being proud of one’s accomplishments and bragging or flaunting these successes in the face of those who lost. Below are some simple steps you can follow to ensure that your child is a graceful winner.
As excited and pleased as your child may be about winning, it is important that you remind them to be considerate of those who did not win. While it is fun to celebrate post-game with their teammates on the field, discourage them from boasting at or taunting the opposing team. Remind them of their own feelings after a disappointing loss and how they would want to be treated in that situation. Celebrating is a positive, bonding experience for the team but mocking or ridiculing others is simply cruel.
Sometimes consecutive wins can lead to overconfidence and lack of initiative regarding practicing. And no matter how talented your child may be doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement. Even the greatest of athletes spend countless hours trying to enhance their skill set.
Encourage your child to continue to practice in spite of the victories. Discuss aspects of the sport that they could improve upon in addition to what they do well. They can even talk with the coach to see if she or he has any recommendations on how they can do better. Regardless of how skilled your child is, even if they are the best on the team, there is always room for improvement.
With all of that being said, it is also important to your child’s confidence and self-esteem that you acknowledge their successes and celebrate their victories. After a big win, take them out for dinner or a special treat. Let friends and family know about the win and even encourage others to check out the next game. Being told to squander their excited after a big win is disappointing for a child as they typically are looking for, and deserve, some sort of recognition for their accomplishments.
In the end, being a graceful winner is not about downplaying your child’s accomplishments but is instead about being mindful of the feelings of those around them. And this compassion and thoughtfulness towards their fellow players is something that your child can carry with them for the rest of their lives.