How to Keep Your Kids Positive When Playing Sports


Sports are a great activity for kids. Sports improve not only physical coordination, but also mental concentration and focus. We want our kids to do well and have fun, too. Sometimes negativity creeps in. Maybe the team doesn’t win many games, or maybe there are kids that get too competitive. There are many ways that you can help keep your child positive.

Make sure the whole focus is not only in winning. Winning is great, but don’t let your child get caught up in the pressure. Stress the importance of the effort and teamwork of the group. Make sure your child knows that the effort and doing your best are more important than the score. Your child should be having fun.

Help the coach by teaching your child the basics. Practice with them and play some casual games at home. Your child needs to feel comfortable with the fundamentals, and then reacting will come more naturally. Being more confident will help kids have a positive attitude.

Join a club or team that lets all the kids play. Sure, there may be one or two kids with great skills, but you want to foster a positive environment and teamwork. Ask around and talk to other parents before signing your kids up for that team. You want a sport/team where your child will have fun, but still learn and be challenged.


You can help your child be positive by just being there and watching. Don’t rehash the game on the way home. All kids want to hear is that you love to watch them. Tell them that! Every child wants their parents to be there and watch them play.


Watch out for signs that your child might be burned out. Let your kids take a break if they need one. Encourage them, but don’t push them to play all year round if they ask to stop for a while. They will appreciate it and probably will go back to a sport if it is something they love.

So often do I see parents who are not encouraging their children, but rather asking them why they made so many mistakes. I see kids trying to hold their tears back. I see kids being pushed too far.

And to that, I encourage both parents and kids to read this.

Image via Getty Images

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  1. i was totally not a sports player really – I used to get put in goal when my friends played football as I had a nack of just being in the right place to stop the ball.. Once tried out for the netball team, got on it then broke a friends finger as I threw the ball too had! Whhoopps! x

  2. This is great. I find my kids are positive for a little while then all of a sudden that competitive nature kicks in and its hard to keep them positive and even nice haha.

  3. My daughter loves playing sports, but doesn’t like the competitiveness of actual games. She’ll shoot hoops, kick soccer balls around, and all that, though. Maybe one day when she’s a little more mature it’ll be different.

  4. I was a lax mom and a karate mom for a number of years. You’ve brought up some good points. I’d also like to add that parents should refrain from criticizing the coaches and officials unless something egregious is going on.

  5. This is a great post. I love these tips. My husband and I coach multiple sports in every season and our kids also play them all. We never force them to play, that keeps it fun for them 🙂

  6. it is so important to offer words of encouragement and not negative comments to the children in sports. they will gain so much confidence by having people believe in them and they will learn a lot about team work, hopefully, by playing sports

  7. These are great tips. We enjoy watching our kids enjoying the sports they participate in. It is so hard watching kids that have critical parents ruin their fun and confidence.

  8. These are awesome tips. It’s important to teach them to be positive so they won’t take the game personally. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I remember my childhood days. Yes you really have some pointers here.. Soon when I have my own kids I’ll remember this tip.

  10. Those are really good tips. Both my kids play in competitive sports. Though it’s important to do your best, your can’t win them all. The important thing is to give it all you’ve got.

  11. We need to build our kids up, not tear them down. There’s room for encouragement and practice for improvement but there’s no need to beat them up about it.

  12. I had a similar problem when I was a kid. I was really good at dance and my dance teacher would push me and push me until I was dancing 7 days a week (at the age of 12) and it made me hate it. My mom was great and let me choose what I wanted to do but there’s a fine line between encouraging and pushing too hard.

  13. Great points indeed! Kids should know how to play healthy and have fun 🙂 What important for the parents are they should build their kids up and often see the kids mistakes.

  14. Sports for kids should always be about having fun and getting exercise in the process. None of this super competitive nonsense. I played some sports as a kid. Sometimes my team, sometimes not. The important thing was playing the game the best that I could.

  15. Sports should be fun–unfortunately too many parents are competitive themselves and when they watch their children play go way over board. Just let the kids have fun–It really does not matter who wins or loses–no one is going to make money on a kids game I HOPE!!

  16. I love this! I have three kids that grew up playing competitive sports and I spent a lot of time watching (and grading papers between innings, sets, matches etc.) I was the parent that never learned how to keep a score book. I was there to cheer and support. The time spent driving to and from was always a special time. It is not all about winning – they gained so many life skills that have benefited them through college and careers.

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