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Teach Youth Athletes Good Sportsmanship

05/06/2014, 10:45am MDT
By USAHockey.com

There’s nothing like the elated feeling your children get after winning a game they’ve practiced for day and night. But that good feeling can quickly dissipate when faced with bad sportsmanship.

Youth sports are a great opportunity for kids to build self-esteem and learn the essentials of playing a game. But it’s also an opportunity for parents and coaches to teach the importance of good sportsmanship. While parents cheer for their kids on the sidelines, it’s also imperative for them to be positive role models and strong examples of what it means to be a good sport.

Our kids look to their role models, and when adults and athletes have a win-at-all-cost mentality, it can ruin the game and bring out the worst in everyone.

Liberty Mutual Insurance, in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance, offers the following helpful tips and tactics for promoting good sportsmanship. And we invite you and your young athlete to learn more at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports website.

Play with integrity. One of the most essential lessons a child can learn from sports is to follow the rules. Make sure your team understands the rules and doesn’t break them, even if they have the opportunity to get away with it.

Respect the officials. It’s important to teach not only our young athletes but also our parents and coaches to respect the referees and officials. Our kids have a watchful eye and take notice when parents and coaches are disrespectful.

Be a good sport. This means doing what we can to lift our teammates up and help them reach their potential. Being a good teammate means also being a good person on and off the ice regardless of the outcome.

Maintain self-control. Keep your cool, have a positive attitude, and don’t overreact during practice or games. Be encouraging of other players.

Let the coaches coach. Avoid chiming in with your coaching advice for the team, or other parents.  Let those in charge run the plays.

To bring about the above behaviors, and many others that constitute good sportsmanship, Positive Coaching Alliance encourages players and parent and coaches to “Honor the Game.” And to remember components of this code, PCA uses the acronym ROOTS, which stands for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.

Following these tips, along with reminding your children you’re proud of them no matter what, will help instill the values of sportsmanship and collectively ensure that our kids have the best sports experience possible.

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility and integrity shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company 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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March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.

This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.

“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”

The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.

Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.

“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.

“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.

“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”

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