FORT BENNING, Ga. (Feb. 26, 2014) -- The other day I was reminded about the little things kids learn when first entering sports.

From the earliest of ages, most would-be athletes learn the meaning of good sportsmanship and depending on either positive or negative reinforcement, how they feel about themselves as competitors.

Something as simple as a high-five, fist bump or an encouraging word from the coach can go a long way in developing a young athlete.

Whether it is a teammate or coach, social and athletic acceptance is important -- especially in the very young athletes like 3-year-old development leagues.

With a 2-year-old grandson, who will no doubt become involved in athletics in a development league, I want him to feel good about participating in sports and will want him to continue participating for a long time to come.

The importance of feeling good about himself and his team can�'t be understated -- neither can him making sure his teammates also feel good about themselves and being part of a team.

As a former and future coach, yes, I will coach my grandson. It is a joy to coach a child with a good attitude, who is selfless with his team and is a good teammate.

Not only does it make a coach�'s job easier, but it develops leadership as well.

A teammate who leads by setting a good example will always go further than one who has a bad attitude and only thinks of himself.

There are many in professional sports who you can tell, if you look closely, that fell through the cracks as youth athletes.

Winners can always be identified by the body language they exhibit with their teammates on the sidelines, in the dugout or on the bench court side.

Winning starts with respect, self-worth and good sportsmanship.

A high five, fist bump or an encouraging word costs nothing, but it sure goes a long way in the development of an athlete.

Page last updated Wed February 26th, 2014 at 11:59