Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2018

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n August 2018 them realize your kids can get better at sports but they can also have fun." Yelling at your young athlete or pushing them to get a sports scholarship is counterproductive, he says. "You have to let them be a kid and do other things. If the kid's good enough, scouts will find them." "Play hard but at the end, it's only a game," Fiedler says. He teaches his players to win graciously and don't be a sore loser - shake hands win or lose. While it's natural to get excited, save that for the sidelines and keep it a little low key, he advises. Is it the coach's fault? As sports and teen coordinator at the YMCA of Middletown, Shawn Thomas works with kids from preschool through senior high and oversees athletics programs for fun, training and development as well as competitive sports. Prior to tryouts, Thomas meets with parents to discuss their roles and how they can best serve their children and to understand the distinction between what a parent's involvement should be and what By OLIVIA L. LAWRENCE T o develop good sportsmanship in kids involved in youth athletics, you have to start with how parents and coaches behave. Lose graciously, win graciously Scott Fiedler is owner of Sports Academy at Brookwood in Glen Spey, a summer camp for kids ages 6 to 17-years-old. He's also a former college Division I basketball coach who knows a lot about teaching good sportsmanship. But as the father of seven-year-old twins who play lacrosse - a sport he only knows from the parenting end of it - he also has some advice for parents. "I'm there to watch and encourage them," he says of how he approaches his children's matches. While some parents just cheer for their own son or daughter, Fiedler emphasizes that it's important to support any kid on the team, not just your own. As a coach, he says, "The biggest thing is parents gone crazy - you have to bring them back and help the coach needs to do. "You teach from the top down and the player will follow," Thomas says, adding "It's easy to spot a team with a coach who doesn't keep high standards in sportsmanship." It's not about winning "Winning is not the most important thing, developing the character of the player is," Thomas says, and that's what he strives to explain to parents and instill in the kids. "I try to establish a culture and an understanding that kids follow what they are taught." He urges parents to not compare talents between kids - each athlete has a role to fulfill and by doing her best in that role it will lead to the team functioning best. "If that isn't for you, then it might be best for your child to be in a training program, not every kid may be ready for competitive sports," Thomas explains. Respect the game, the opponent and the program Good communication all around will lead to success and it's the biggest issue Thomas says, giving an example of one of the sticking points Is your child a bad sport? 4 coaches share the importance of good sportsmanship Coach and father Scott Fiedler teaches his players to win and lose graciously. He insists that "it's only a game." He urges parents not to push their athletes too hard.

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