- Attitude - demonstrating a positive and winning attitude in all sports by how you think or feel about your teammates and opponents (win or lose), reflected in your behavior.
- Character - demonstrating positive moral qualities, ethical standards, and principles in winning and losing.
- Ethics - demonstrating moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity.
- Fairness - demonstrating impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.
- Honesty - demonstrating the quality of being honest; telling the truth always.
- Avoid yelling and cursing at coaches and umpires/referees.
- Don't take your frustrations out on referees, umpires, and officials.
- Don't misrepresent your parents, school, team, or yourself.
- Don't hit defenseless individuals.
- Make sure you follow the required rules.
- Don't demonstrate hateful speech on the field, in the stands, on social media, or in public.
Sportsmanship is an aspiration or ethos that a sport or activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors. It is the conduct and attitude of participants in sports, especially when considered commendable, as in fair play, courtesy, and grace in losing. Sportsmanship means playing fair, following the rules of the game, respecting the judgment of referees and officials, and treating opponents with respect.
Promoting good Sportsmanship as a coach at any level is difficult. Coaches, teachers, and parents serve as role models for sportsmanlike behaviors in children. What makes teaching (and modeling) good Sportsmanship particularly challenging is that youngsters are constantly exposed to images of older basketball players trash-talking, showboating, and disrespecting opponents and officials. However, it’s important to remember that you’re fighting the good fight: instilling good Sportsmanship in your players is one of the healthiest ideas you can impart.
Incorporate the following five suggestions into your coaching philosophy to help make your team one of the most liked and respected teams in the league (and your players the envy of all parents in the stands):
- Discuss Sportsmanship outside your team.
- Set a positive tone on game day by shaking hands with the opposing coach.
- Always model good sportsmanship.
- Shake hands after the game.
- Recognize good sports during your post-game talk.
Nearly 60-75% of kids who play organized sports quit by age 13. Some find that their skill level hits a plateau, and the game is no longer fun. Others simply discover other interests. However, too many promising young athletes (your sons and daughters) turn away from sports because their parents become insufferable. What a sobering thought.
Here’s something else to consider: it’s truly amazing how we as parents become engaged, excited, or even downright hostile when it comes to cheering on our sons and daughters through youth-high school athletics. So much so that we embarrass them and their team with our behavior, becoming abusive toward the other team, their followers (a.k.a fans), coaches, and referees. WOW! Aren’t we fantastic role models?
Taming uncivil behavior, especially by parents in the stands, is becoming an unavoidable initiative in school districts. So how do we as parents adjust our behavior and Sportsmanship? Parents can help their kids understand that good Sportsmanship includes small gestures and heroic efforts. It starts with something as simple as shaking hands with opponents before a game and includes acknowledging good plays made by others and accepting bad calls gracefully. Displaying good Sportsmanship isn’t always easy: it can be tough to congratulate the opposing team after losing a close or important game. But the kids who learn to do it will benefit in many ways.