I'm a girls soccer team coach and, of course, one of my main goals is to keep games fun and but also keep them fair. I have three very clear objectives in mind when I speak with my players: to teach sportsmanship, fundamental skills, and nurture a love for the game. In order to do this there are a few things that I go over with my players during practices and before games that help them keep focused and motivated. I can honestly say that this can apply to a few other sports as well.

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Follow the rules of the game. One important rule is you stop play when the referee blows the whistle then listen to what he or she has to say. When it comes to one-on-one play, there is no grabbing or pushing with your hands. These along with other rules helps keep the game moving and more importantly everyone who is out on the field safe.

Be a team player. This is not an individual sport like tennis. Not one person wins. You have to work together as a team to get goals. Don't hog the soccer ball. Pass it to another player. Regardless of who scores we all win together.

Be a gracious winner. Celebrate the win but no one likes it when someone brags, showboats or gloats. Remember we won this time but there is always next time and you wouldn't want the other team to do that to you if we lose.

Take a loss on the chin. It's ok to lose. The most important thing is to move on and learn from your mistakes. This also means no mean looks, pouting, finger-pointing or blaming your team mates for the loss.

Follow the Golden Rule. Yes, this applies to sports too. It's called good sportsmanship. Treat others as you would like to be treated. This includes your team mates, your competitors and even your coach. Take a knee when a player goes down because they are hurt regardless of if it's someone on your team or not and always hi-five your competitor and tell them "good game" at the end of every competition.

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Topics: tips  tips for kids  sports