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What Am I Teaching My Son If I Let Him Quit Playing Sports Just Because He’s Afraid of the Ball?

  You are teaching him… that you respect him, even if you don’t understand his choices. that you will listen closely to what he says and take it at face value. that it pays to speak up. that he doesn’t have to disguise his real feelings in order to gain or sustain your approval. that […]

page from The Last Boys Picked

Why You Should Read The Last Boys Picked (November 25, 2016 guest post by Jennifer L. W. Fink)

I’ve never been a boy, but boy do I know all about being the last kid picked! I was always non-athletic. (In fact, until very recently, I still described myself as “one of the most non-athletic people you’ll ever meet.”) I wasn’t interested in sports and I wasn’t good at sports. Likely, those two things […]

Not Every Boy Likes to Play Sports: Signs of Nonathletic Boys in Trouble and How You Can Help

Here are some of the things you’ll hear or see from boys who become anxious when they think they might have to get involved in some game, or get stuck being the only one sitting it out. They may complain of bellyaches, headaches, or general “I don’t feel well” on gym days. They might hang […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports:  Family Game Night and the Art of Interruption

This is the last in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. I wouldn’t consider this series on good sportsmanship to be complete without saying at least a few words about family game nights—those hotbeds of rivalry disguised as interludes of filial togetherness. The problem of course isn’t in being competitive; […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Humiliation is a horrible “motivational” technique.

This is the fifth in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually played better, ran faster, or threw more accurately as a result of being humiliated by his coach. I’ve known plenty of kids who’ve tried harder when scolded, but that usually doesn’t […]

Fail Is Not a Four-Letter Word

How misguided compassion can end up being a child’s worst enemy in terms of healthy social and emotional development Nine-year-old Billy had been a brash schoolyard basketball player when I first met him. Now, a year later, he sat in my office sad and forlorn, next to his worried dad. “He won’t play basketball or […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Bad sportsmanship doesn’t self-correct

  This is the fourth in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports.   Here’s the bad news: Bad sportsmanship isn’t “just a phase” and it’s not something a kid is going to magically grow out of. Here’s the good news: There are things you can do to encourage better sportsmanship […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Wanting to win is okay as long as no one ends up demoralized in the process

This is the third in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. #3 Wanting to win is okay as long as no one ends up demoralized in the process.     Winning feels good. Losing—not so much. In fact, losing feels bad enough that winners don’t really need to rub it […]

Raising Boys to Be Good Sports: Mistaking poor sportsmanship for “competitiveness”

This is the second in a series of six articles about raising boys to be good sports. #2 Don’t mistake bad sportsmanship for competitiveness.   Poor sportsmanship has many disguises, one of the best being competitiveness, as in “My kid, man, he sure likes to win. He’s a real competitor so, yeah, he gets a little bent […]