Praise the effort not the outcome
It’s so easy to get excited about a big win or scoring a goal. But the truth is we should get our kids excited about hustling after a ball or running through first base after hitting a ground ball. It’s the effort that is important because that leads to keeping our kids grounded while playing sports. And kids take all of their cues from us -- so if we put too much emphasis on winning or losing, they will too. Our kids need to know the effort is just as important as the performance or outcome so even in a loss, they can take some positives from the game.
Ask before you offer advice
Sometimes it's in our nature to tell someone what they could do better. Whether it's hitting, catching, running – we all have an opinion. But that opinion doesn’t always help our little athletes. Sometimes saying nothing is best. Or if you have great advice, make sure you ask them first if they want advice. Sometimes it’s best to leave it in their hands to see if they want to talk about it or not. So in this case, definitely ask before you tell!
Teach kids to praise others to build self-confidence
When a child is feeling bad about giving up the game-winning home run or winning goal, the best medicine may be praising the efforts of others. It’s not easy to walk away from a bad performance but instead of feeling bad about their actions, it’s best to praise another. Telling someone "that was a great hit" or "great job on that goal" makes it more about the other child's great performance and not your child’s perception of a bad one. And it also teaches your kids that it’s just as important to make someone else feel good – and in turn, that makes you feel good about yourself.