They are competitive by nature, and can be prone to obsessions, which is why it is so important to set them on the right track early on. They have a natural desire to follow the rules. So, the rules you set up during a little league game or even a family game of basketball will be important setting their moral compass for sportsmanship throughout life.
Make sure from an early age that they are clear that what makes a good athlete is not just how well they kick or dribble, but also how fairly and honorably they treat their teammates and the opposition.
They tend to run off a bit at the mouth, so its important to get this trait to be constructive. This can be hard to do when they witness parents on the sideline behaving badly as they hurl abuse at their own children, the coach and referees.
Talk to the organization or club that your child belongs to about game rules; make sure everyone is clear about appropriate verbal behavior of players and parents. Explain to your child that each kid learns at their own pace and verbal encouragement is a much better motivator than ridicule. Remember, your auditory child is always listening.
They have a natural perfectionist streak, which can come across as a little bossy. They find it hard to tolerate mishaps with themselves, and this can spill onto their teammates. This is also what makes them very driven at their chosen sport.
They have no problem practicing and tend to give their all at games. This can make it hard with a teammate who is less enthusiastic or talented. As they are conscious in a unique way to how others view them, they need to be taught that being a graceful winner makes them look better and more professional than being bossy or gloating. Reward them for being kind and when they take the time to teach other kids. Their attention to detail makes them excellent at coaching.
They can be the brunt of a lot of bad sportsmanship, as their sensitive nature makes them more inclusive but less competitive than children with other senses.
They wont give their all at a game, which can upset other teammates and make these kids a target for the opposing team. Teach them that sportsmanship also is how you play the game, which means trying your best, even if youre not very good, miss a few balls or fall down.
Remind your child that being part of the team means that you go to practice and participate in the game. They need to understand that supporting the team is as important as kicking the goal themselves.
Priscilla Dunstan is a child and parenting behavior expert. www.childsense.com