More than 63 percent of American adults believe that the state of sportsmanship is worse now than when they were growing up, according to the finding of a survey conducted by the Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) and TNS/NFO Research. Of those same respondents, more than 86 percent believe that a parent is the best person to teach good sportsmanship, followed by coaches, teachers, and friends. The ARA offers these tips to help you ensure that your child plays fairly and has fun:
* Don't put pressure on your child to be "the best." Instead, teach him to enjoy the game.
* Model good sportsmanship yourself — especially on the sidelines. Kids do notice how parents behave toward coaches, other parents, and other players.
* At home, teach your child how to be a good sport when playing a game in the backyard or at the kitchen table.
* Request that your child's coach address the rules of good sportsmanship at the start of any season.