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BOTD 2/11/17 "The Athlete" An 18 Smacked Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall

The Athlete
An 18Smacked Production

Your 14 year-old son Andy, is a gifted athlete in many sports, particularly soccer where he is the leading scorer on two teams for which he plays. As with many athletes, he loves winning, and when he wins a big match-up, he can be in a great mood for days on end. There are no problems at all when he and his team wins. BUT- when he is unable to score, and his team loses, for whatever reason, he ends up in a black and foul mood that permeates throughout the house and this lasts until he finally scores big in another game. Moreover, it isn't just restricted to his family; the mood is transmitted to all with whom he comes in contact.

Today, Andy's team scored a huge loss and was mostly because of the red card Andy received.  Andy's mood is worse than ever.


Andy - 14
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How do yo go about teaching him how to accept a bad performance so his mood is not souring the atmosphere all around him until he decides to move on?  Is there anything you can do to help him with changing this attitude?


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David M. Katz

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Marshall
Had to post a little early today. Enjoy! Very Happy


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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
Much will depend upon what the red card was for, whether it was justified, whether if was a case of him "taking it for the team" (deliberate foul to prevent opponent scoring certain goal) and what external punishment he is likely to receive from the footballing authorities and/or his club/school if that was for whom he was playing.

If he faces a ban from playing because of the reed card, I doubt if there is anything I will be able to do effectively to change his mood - he'll just have to accept the consequences. Perhaps I could tell him suggest to him that if he is indeed banned, I'll take him to a top Premier League match that he'd not normally be able to attend because of playing.

Spanking certainly won't improve his mood. It's really got to be a case of, "Son, we all make mistakes sometimes; we can't change what's happened so what can you learn from this as we look forward, not back?"

AFinch

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Sherrif
Nothing to add to Pi's excellent answer.

StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
Stevie will forbid Andy from playing team sports. They're unnecessary and tend to teach boys to become nasty bullies in any case...

Stevie the brutal monster...

ivor

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Marshall
While the circumstances of the red card aren't known he must have done something seriously against the rules to incur one. Taking him to see a Premier League game as a 'reward' for dong so is sending him totally the wrong message imo.

Maybe in junior soccer a team can win every game and a player score in every one, but he needs to learn that doesn't happen as he moves up the ranks with age.

I'm considering adding to his suspension from playing.

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Jack

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I agree more with Ivor than Pi, but I'm really in between the two.

The way I read the scenario, the problem isn't with the red card, but with his behavior after the game. It sounds to me that Andy is a sore loser, and he wants to make sure that everyone around him is as miserable as he is.

What I'm going to do is sit down with Andy and commiserate with him, but I'll point out that nobody wins all the time, and that he can't take all the credit or all the blame for himself. Sure, he's a good athlete, but we're all humans, sometimes mistakes happen, sometimes things just don't go perfect, and sometimes the other team manages to step up, because they probably want to win as much as he does.

I am then going to point out several specific examples of how he acts in cases like this, and tell him those things aren't acceptable.

I'm assuming that, since this is posted here, Andy is still subject to corporal correction. He and I are going to pick a few things that we really want him to work on, and then we'll build an escalating set of penalties - probably moving from a short, simple time out, to muscle exhaustion or exercise, and adding a sore butt if it continues. I will also let him know that (a few professionals notwithstanding), this type of behavior isn't acceptable.

StevieWeeks wrote:Stevie will forbid Andy from playing team sports. They're unnecessary and tend to teach boys to become nasty bullies in any case...

Sorry, Stevie, but there are some good things that can be learned from team sports. I also don't think they teach boys to become bullies - I think that the people most successful at them (thus most likely to play) are the boys who are larger, more physical, and possibly more aggressive, and so the type more likely to become bullies. I have known many boys who played team sports who weren't bullies, and I can think of a number of bullies with whom I've had to deal who didn't play team sports.


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Pi Beta

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RIP 9 Jan 47 - 17 June 17
I'm not in any serious disagreement with Jack's response. In my initial response I was looking primarily at ways that would lighten his mood rather than change his attitude, reckoning on working on the "bad loser" over the longer term. I'm sure that at a Premier League game I'll be able to point out several (many?) examples of bad loser behaviour I can use with him - not just from the players but from the spectators and, especially, the managers!

18Smacked

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I did some research on this topic when I wrote the BOTD, and one site suggested the following tips, starting at an early age, and adjusting things for the age of the child:

1. Discuss what is meant by sportsmanship

Have a discussion about what is "fair" and what is "right" and why rules exist, and what is the purpose of having the rules with any game, whether it is a sports game, or a board game. Talk about how one should behave even when feeling frustrated or when a call that was made was unfair or wrong.

2. Find out what the coach's expectations will be.

All coaches have expectations for the kids, parents and themselves as a coach. They may establish a three strike warning for bad sportsmanship, if they have a code of conduct for the team players. If so, the parents ant children on the team need to respect it and follow the policies.

3. Following the rules is an important life skill.

Whether in school, a board game, or in a job, there are always rules folks need to follow. There may be temptations to cheat, so parents should teach their kids the importance of following rules, as a skill they will use their entire lives. Parents need to explain the penalties for cheating, as well as the shame that being caught carries.

4. Parents need to act as role models.

Parents may be on the sidelines, or fill in for a missing umpire or referee, or even have a role as a coach. No matter what they do, the parents must show a stellar example with other players, and their parents. They can say "good game," shake hands, etc. acknowledge good plays a player may have made, and accept any bad calls with grace.

5. If you or your child should display bad sportsmanship, address and evaluate it.

Maybe you did not speak respectfully of the coach when he did not use your boy in the action, or possibly your child did not shake hands with some players because of a good play that was made against them or their team. If any bad sportsmanship happens by anyone, a parent should point it out to their child and talk about how to handle things better

6. Praise good actions of a graceful loser and a humble winner.

Make sure your child knows what is good behavior, and praise when that is displayed. Gloating and bragging should be discouraged, while grace and humility should be praised.

7. Keep the focus on what is really important.

Winning isn't everything. Sports are meant to teach skills and be fun. Each child has his own limits of how much constructive criticism he can handle at any one time, so pay attention to that. Cheer them on just for playing the game, whether they are playing well or not, and whether their team is leading or not.


Anyone have any thoughts about what was posted?

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
The issue in the scenario is that Andy wants to make the whole world as miserable as he is feeling.

I do not see that punishment will help here but a long hard talk with Andy is needed. Some of the points 18Smacked shared will be good topics.


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db105

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Trailboss
I'm in agreement with most posters. The problem is not a red card, but Andy's general unsportsmanlike attitude. And I agree that the best way to deal with it is having a talk, not punishment. It's unrealistic to expect immediate change just because of a talk, but it may be a step in the right direction.

Regarding a red card, it does not necessarily indicate bad behavior on the part of the expelled player. It can be similar to being expelled from a basketball game for reaching the maximum number of personal fouls. You can get a red card through normal actions of the game. It's only when you get them for unsportsmanlike actions that it may be deserving of punishment beyond the sport sanction..

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Jack

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18Smacked wrote:7. Keep the focus on what is really important.

Winning isn't everything. Sports are meant to teach skills and be fun. Each child has his own limits of how much constructive criticism he can handle at any one time, so pay attention to that. Cheer them on just for playing the game, whether they are playing well or not, and whether their  team is leading or not.


Anyone have any thoughts about what was posted?


I have thoughts about this - it's ridiculous. Not that it's wrong - in theory. The problem is, if a kid wants to make a living playing the game (and I'm willing to bet that every kid who loves playing a game dreams of that, though only the ones who really stand out might admit it), then they know that winning is important.

I guess this is really a problem with society. We can say that 'winning isn't everything', but the winning teams are rewarded, and the players who make those wins possible are rewarded more (mostly - you do have outliers like Tony Romo). Because of that, if a kid (like Andy) is told that 'winning isn't everything', he'll believe that everything you're saying is a lie, and he'll have some justification.

Having thought about it a bit more - I think this is great advice for people with younger kids. While I don't think it's going to work well for a teenager playing on two different teams. I wonder if I I had heard this years ago, I could have helped Andy avoid developing this problem.


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squarecutter

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Sherrif
First of all competitive soccer players have come to see red cards rather like occupational hazards for playing on the edge of the rules and it seems to me the suspension he gets will be sufficient punishment unless it was so outrageous as to be beyond the norm or illegal off a football pitch.

However in our house he leaves the swearing, fighting, trash talking and insolence behind or else. saying aal that I think he needs a little help with anger management ant will consider some therapy to help him get these things in proportion before he upsets teammates, friends, etc or gets himself thrown off teams. There are lots more games to play at his age and some he will win and some he will lose. He will score goals one day and miss chances another. Later on he may miss the big contract in business NOBODY expects perfection and he cant react like THIS. Thats sport. That life and he needs to understand that

18Smacked

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Cowboy
Jack wrote:
18Smacked wrote:7. Keep the focus on what is really important.

Winning isn't everything. Sports are meant to teach skills and be fun. Each child has his own limits of how much constructive criticism he can handle at any one time, so pay attention to that. Cheer them on just for playing the game, whether they are playing well or not, and whether their  team is leading or not.


Anyone have any thoughts about what was posted?


 The problem is, if a kid wants to make a living playing the game (and I'm willing to bet that every kid who loves playing a game dreams of that, though only the ones who really stand out might admit it), then they know that winning is important.  

Having thought about it a bit more - I think this is great advice for people with younger kids.  While I don't think it's going to work well for a teenager playing on two different teams.  I wonder if I I had heard this years ago, I could have helped Andy avoid developing this problem.

After I posted, I realized that in a true sense, there are two different- far different- levels (for lack of a better word, I suppose) being addressed. The post I made is more applicable for an elementary school age kid. In later years, Jack is correct- winning is all important. I think it sad, however, that there is so much emphasis on winning so early with kids.

I think there is not enough focus on helping kids learn to love "sports for life" and to play sports/activities that they will use all life long. I guess golf would fit in this category but let's face it- how many folks at 30+ years old will play even tag football? I don't know many schools that teach fishing to kids, but I know this is a sport that can be done even by those who are disabled. It fits in the category of a "lifetime sport," along with golf, bowling and some others.

I also know that sports in schools have gotten far more competitive than when I was in H.S. in the late 60's and early 70's and now winning a game is all-important. But I wonder if kids are learning enough about the things they can do all throughout their lives to keep fit, or are they simply learning football and soccer skills they won't use past college years?

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
squarecutter wrote:First of all competitive soccer players have come to see red cards rather like occupational hazards for playing on the edge of the rules and it seems to me the suspension he gets will be sufficient punishment unless it was so outrageous as to be beyond the norm or illegal off a football pitch.

However in our house he leaves the swearing, fighting, trash talking and insolence behind or else. saying aal that I think he needs a little help with anger management ant will consider some therapy to help him get these things in proportion before he upsets teammates, friends, etc or gets himself thrown off teams. There are lots more games to play at his age and some he will win and some he will lose. He will score goals one day and miss chances another. Later on he may miss the big contract in business NOBODY expects perfection and he cant react like THIS. Thats sport. That life and he needs to understand that

Square makes a great point about competitive soccer layers seeing a red card as an occupational hazard, and he is quite right on that.

That all being said, the last paragraph makes excellent points and is spot on, as I view it!

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