Focus on what you CAN control Part i: Sportsmanship
Winning is glorious and losing is frustrating, but both happen throughout a season. Every athlete strives for consistency, but playing perfect every game is impossible. Every year, players and teams go through some sort of slump. While they are dreadful during the moment, going through these hard times are good for teams because they teach them how to respond to adversity, and ultimately grow together.
Because slumps can happen at anytime, they are out of the teams control. It is important for teams to focus on what they CAN control during hard times. One thing that should NEVER slump for youth and high school athletes is sportsmanship. Sportsmanship means ALWAYS respecting players, coaches, teammates etc. And true sportsmanship is most recognizable during slumps.
How to demonstrate true sportsmanship during a slump…
pat your teammate on the back after a mistake - let him know to shake it off and stay confident!
look your opponent in the eyes after a heartbreaking loss and sincerely congratulate them
give it 100% effort all the time
respect coaches decisions: SO hard to do during a slump but respecting your coaches decisions shows you are willing to put the team before yourself
stay positive when you are not performing as well as you would like to be
Losing with pride is not easy, but it is respected, and it builds character.
On the contrary of slumps, there will be times during a season when everything is clicking and teams are playing well. It can be easy for teams to get ahead of themselves and act cocky during these times. But to be consistent with true sportsmanship, teams have to win with class. This means being respectful and understanding their opponents always have the same aspirations and expectations to win.