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8 Guidelines For Teaching Your Athlete To Be Swagger-free

     Do you want your kids to swagger? To act cocky on the court or field?

According to the dictionary, swagger and cockiness are the same thing:

Swagger: Swaggering manner, conduct or walk; ostentatious display of arrogance and conceit.

Cocky: arrogant; pertly self-assertive; conceited.

Arrogance and conceit are not earmarks of a team player. Confidence? That's a whole different matter.

If your child is a gifted athlete, swagger and cockiness will become very tempting behaviors. The coaches will tell him he is good. The paper will tell him he is good. The local TV will tell him he is good. His friends will tell him he is good. The teachers will tell him he is good. And YOU will tell him he is good.

And that's all good.

But that's a lot for a kid to take in without succumbing to cockiness. That's why God gave parents to kids. It's our job to keep them humble. And here's how you can do just that:

Model humility. It always starts with what YOU do.

Teach that there is no "i" in team. No matter how good your kid is, he cannot do it alone. Period.

Show no special treatment. By parents or by teachers. Athletes should be held to same standards as non-athletes, not given favors.

Remind him of his responsibility as a leader. Other kids look up to athletes. It comes with the territory of being athletic and it is a responsibility he needs to take seriously. Athletes should be encouraged to be leaders and good examples off the field and court, as well as on.

Offer him balance. When your child play sports, it's very tempting for sports to take over the entire household. But that can cause sports burnout. Instead, advocate balance. Let him grow in other areas of life--other interests, hobbies, adventures.

Praise his team mates too. Recognize your child's hard efforts and point out the hard work of his teammates. This is just another way of instilling the no-I-in-team mentality.

Don't support the "victim" mentality. According to your child, there will always be someone else to blame. A blind ref. Selfish teammates. Even the coach. Don't feed that in your kid because that victim mentality will spill over into other areas of his life. And it often manifests itself as cockiness.

Teach respect for coaches, teammates, and refs. This is the hard part. There are coaches who are clueless, teammates who are selfish and obnoxious, and refs who are incompetent. It's hard to respect them. But we must tell our kids to respect them as human beings, even if we don't like the way they do their jobs. It all starts at home, folks. Our kids are like sponges; they will drip out what they soak up. What are you pouring into your kids? Are you teaching them to respect others?

In our house, swagger is done in fun. When my kids come home, they know they can joke about how good they are, and we laugh because we know that they are teasing. But when they head out the door and enter the field or court, they know that the swagger stays home where it belongs; and humble leadership rules.

Article Source:

Get more tips on how to help your child be a winner in youth sports at JBM Thinks Sportsparenting.

Posted on 2013-05-17, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,

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