Youth sports provide a great avenue for your kids to build self-esteem and learn invaluable life lessons.
They also provide an opportunity for parents and coaches to teach the importance of good sportsmanship to youth athletes. Our kids look to their role models for guidance, and when adults and athletes have a win-at-all-costs mentality, it can tarnish the game and bring out the worst in everyone. Good sportsmanship really does matter.
In our exclusive TAKE 5 interview, Kenny admitted that he “sometimes wonders” about the current state of sportsmanship in hockey– although he sees it as a positive “for the most part.”
“Most parents, players and coaches practice good sportsmanship, but the few who don’t are the ones who seem to be the loudest and generate news,” said Kenny. “There is no place in youth sports for bad sportsmanship and poor behavior at a youth sporting event.”
Kenny also recalled an inspiring example of good sportsmanship that came from a Maine player during warmup skate prior to the NCAA National Championship Game during his senior year as a student-athlete at Boston University. He told us he “will never forget that gesture.” Read his full Q&A for the story.
As a longtime coach himself, Kenny understands the impact and influence coaches can have on good sportsmanship among youth athletes.
“Coaches can make sure that they set the example of good sportsmanship,” said Kenny. “They need to act appropriately and to realize that this is just a game, and use it to teach life lessons. Coaches should meet with players and parents to stress what appropriate behavior both on and off the ice is like.”
Kenny also believes that youth athletes themselves can do a lot to improve the state of sportsmanship in hockey, where “everyone out there is trying their best.”
“The number one thing that athletes can do to improve sportsmanship in hockey is to look in the mirror and realize that they aren’t perfect, and have never played a perfect game,” said Kenny.
At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility 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 responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.
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