Basketball on the Edge – Win (and Lose) with Class! 9 Tips for Players, Parents, & Coaches

Youth basketball can be a roller coaster of emotions for both you and your child. Over the course of the season chances are your team will have some big wins and some tough losses. Learning to win with class and lose with class is an ongoing process for most kids. They will definitely need guidance from parents and coaches as they navigate their way through the youth basketball landscape. Here are some suggestions for players, coaches, and parents regarding how to win and lose with class.

For Players and Coaches

Win with Class

1. Celebrate WITH YOUR TEAM when you win. Don’t direct your celebration at your opponent. Everyone loves to win. It’s much more fun to win than it is to lose. Winning can validate the hard work that your young player and their teammates have put in. Help kids let their winning performance speak for itself. Teach kids not to gloat or taunt their opponent after a game.

2. Remember, the other team worked hard and competed with your team. The most satisfying victories are often against those teams that are most challenging. It’s not much fun to beat someone you are much better than. Be thankful you were able to beat a tough opponent and give them respect. Shake the other teams’ hands after the game, congratulate them on a great game and really mean it.

3. Don’t forget that someday you’ll be on the losing end of a tough game. How will you want or expect your opponent to act? Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Lose with Class

1. Don’t blame others. No one likes to lose, but don’t place the blame on teammates, referees, or coaches. Accept responsibility and look in the mirror. Learn to ask yourself what you could have done better. Develop a growth mindset!

2. Shake your opponents hand, congratulate them on their win, and begin formulating a plan so when the next time you meet them, the result will be different. It’s OK to be disappointed or upset after a loss, but you should learn that the sooner you get over it, the better.

For Parents

Win or Lose with Class

1. Avoid booing or yelling negative, harassing comments towards opposing players. No matter what is happening in the game, focus on cheering for your child and their team and not heckling the opposition.

2. Don’t use foul language. These games are being played by kids! (including your own) There are probably kids sitting close to you in the stands too! By using foul language you just identify yourself as someone to be avoided. Foul language doesn’t impress anyone!

3. Respect the other team’s fans. They aren’t your enemies. They’re parents just like you, passionate about their child and their child’s team. We all know that some parents can be obnoxious and rude, but find it in yourself to be the bigger person and ignore those that call attention to themselves by acting like jerks. Set a positive example for your own child and the young players on their team by maintaining your composure when dealing with rude behavior by opposing fans.

4. Be supportive of your young player’s effort, win or lose. Ask, “Did you have fun? Did you play hard? Did you listen to your coach? Then say, “I love watching you play!” Your love should be unconditional regardless of the outcome of the game.

Winning and losing with class is critical to teaching life lessons through basketball. As parents and coaches it is our responsibility to teach and model for our kids how to conduct themselves with class regardless of the final outcome on the scoreboard.

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