Practicing Good Sportsmanship
October 7, 2011Todd County Central High School
Learn as much as you can about your sport. Play by its rules. Show up for practice, work hard, and realize that on a team, everyone deserves a chance to play.
•Talk politely and act courteously toward everyone before, during, and after games and events. That includes your teammates, your opponents, your coaches and their coaches, the officials presiding over the game, and even spectators (who can sometimes be loud about their opinions).
•Stay cool. Even if others are losing their tempers, it doesn't mean you have to. Remind yourself that no matter how hard you've practiced and played, it is, after all, just a game.
•Avoid settling disputes with violence. If you're in a difficult situation or someone's threatening you, seek help immediately from your coach or from an official. Remember, too, that if you respond with violence you could get penalized, which could hurt your chances of winning.
•Cheer your teammates on with positive statements — and avoid trash-talking the other team.
•Acknowledge and applaud good plays, even when someone on the other team makes them.
•When officials make a call, accept it gracefully even if it goes against you. Remember that referees may not be right every time — but they're people who are doing their best, just as you are.
•Whether you win or lose, congratulate your opponents on a game well played.
Fair and Fun
Good sportsmanship means not having a "win at any cost" attitude. Most athletes who don't have a "win at any cost" attitude are more likely to talk about how much they love their sport and how much personal satisfaction and enjoyment they get from participation.
Most people won't go on to play professional sports, and only a few will win scholarships to play at college. But many forget to have a good time during the years they do play because they're so focused on winning. And, unfortunately, parents and coaches sometimes put too much pressure on athletes, emphasizing winning at all costs. So although it's great to be a champion, it's even better to have enjoyed the process of trying to reach the top. It's best to play fair while having fun.