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Winning should not be achieved at any cost.
      Americans pride themselves in condoning dirty tricks and not playing by the rules. Those who violate these principles are not considered as a "good sport".

      All athletes need to respect their opponents. It's not just about sportsmanship, but acquiring this attitude will actually help the skater perform better in practices, tests, and competitions.

According to the ultimate sports aphorism -
It’s not whether you win or lose,
it’s how you play the game.

      Should sportsmanship be more important than winning, even at the Olympics?

      There are thousands of articles that discuss the parallels between what happens in sports and what it takes to be successful in real life. The qualities of determination, skill, and hard work contribute to an athlete's chance of being successful in both areas.

      There is a connection between an athlete's character on and off the field that determine an individuals sportsmanship that doesn't get the attention it deserves.
      Good sportsmanship encompasses the athlete's character of which the most fundamental is respect of other athletes. A good sportsman respects both his/her teammates and his/her opponents as equals. As an individual athlete, he/she plays with integrity.

      A win that is not achieved fairly holds no satisfaction for a true sportsman. To his/her core, he/she is honest in all dealings with opponents, because there is the expectation of treating opponents the way he/she wants to be treated. There is a desire for teammates to participate, enjoy the game, and share in any successes without pointing blame in a losing effort. The qualities that go in to making a good person are the same ones that contribute to being a great sportsman.

      Unfortunately, the behavior in sports has declined because society in general takes winning in amateur and professional sports far too seriously. There is a failure of spectators to understand that good sportsmanship truly enhances the experience of both playing and watching sports. Fans can really enjoy themselves at the games, players can feel encouraged by each others performance, and take satisfaction in the fact that the game was played fairly. Sometimes national pride, politics, gambling on the results, and the different between economic gains from winning and losing can produce ugly results.

Good Sportsmanship as a Player

  • Play fair. Sounds simple, but some individuals will cheat or play dirty to win. There's no need for dishonesty to win something as inconsequential as a game. By cheating, it is possible to achieve victory in the short term, but it will forever ring hollow.
  • Be a team player. If you're playing a team sport, the whole team must be involved to be a true winner. Don't try to be the star by hogging the puck. I know this can be hard when your talent surpasses that of your teammates, and you feel you could win the game by carrying the whole thing on your shoulders. Don't ruin the fun for everyone else and just makes yourself look like a jerk.
Everyone starts as a beginner who is just starting to develop their skills. Yes, they might make some errors and cause the team to lose the game.  Playing time provides the necessary experience to get better. By showboating they are left out and denied an opportunity to improve. This type of selfish behavior will breed resentment and divisiveness on your team. Have some patience and pass the puck to the rookie who has a shot to score a goal.
  • Stay positive. Its easy to slip into a negative mode when things aren't going your way. Oftentimes, an athlete who moans and groans about mistakes others have made is not perfect and makes plenty of errors too.
  • Keep trash talk to a minimum. One thing I've noticed is that the player who continually runs his mouth with trash talk is usually the player that isn't actually doing much physically to help his team win. I guess it’s their way of making up for their lack of skill. Instead of wasting your energy and focus on running your mouth, concentrate on actually outplaying your opponent. Let your performance speak for itself.
Also, throughout the game, make a conscious effort to give credit to an opposing player when they make a good play. A simple “nice job” or “good work” is all that is needed.
  • Lose gracefully. In any sport, there will be winners and losers. And sometimes you're going to be on the losing side of the equation. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be to handle a loss.  After a loss, don't sulk, throw a temper tantrum, or cry like a little baby. Give the other athlete(s) a congratulatory handshake.
Never blame the officiating. If you are part of a team attempt to be positive by pointing out what went well. Leave constructive comments to be the providence of the coach or team captain. Never let a loss bring you down and put you in a funk for the rest of the day!
  • Win with class. If you find yourself in the winners circle or on a podium, remember to demonstrate that you are a class act.  If you have negative feelings, don't display them in public. Never gloat or put down the other team after your win. Let your performance speak for itself. After the game, make sure to shake hands or even hug a friend who is an opponent, while offering a positive compliment.
  • Respect the rulings of officials. If your sport has referees or judges, remember to respect their rulings, even if you and/or coach thinks they made a bad call. As human beings, they may occasionally make an error. There generally are rules and procedures to contest a ruling, make your case calmly and rationally. If the ruling does not go in your favor, accept it, and move on.
Remember, sometimes bad calls go your way, too.

Fans also need to demonstrate Good Sportsmanship

A recent study by the NCAA showed that while sportsmanship among players has improved over the years, sportsmanship by the fans has gotten worse. It’s pretty sad when the people who have the least invested in a sport stoop to inappropriate behavior just for the sake of rooting their team on. Here's a quick reminder of some things to keep in mind next time you're at the big game.

  • Watch your alcohol intake. Most displays of bad sportsmanship from fans could be eliminated if fans would just drink responsibly. Know what you can handle before you start to lose your inhibitions and get unruly. Besides, it’s hard to really appreciate a game if you're completely tanked.
  • Respect the opposing team. Use your lung strength to root for your team and not against the other. When the visiting team takes the ice, be respectful and clap for them. Applause is also appropriate when an opposing player is taken out of the game due to an injury.

Resist the temptation to taunt and heckle the opposing team as it doesn't respect the game.

  • Respect your fellow fans. Tickets to major league and college sports games are expensive. Just because you paid big bucks for the tickets doesn't give you the right to run your mouth the whole game. Stay home if you want to give your armchair perspective about what went wrong with each play and how the coach is a moron.

Be respectful to fans who are rooting for the opposing team. Their allegiance to a set of other athletes wearing different uniforms who are just like the athletes who are playing for the team you support. Don't give opposing fans dirty looks or hurl crass insults in their direction.

  • Watch your language. I'm always amazed at what comes out of the mouths of fans at sporting events. II am not talking about an exasperated “damn it” being uttered from time to time. There is just, no excuse for a filthy, foul language in a family sporting event, especially where there are children. The rules demand that the athletes keep their language clean and the parents/fans should set the example for their children to follow!
  • Respect the officials. Just as players should respect the officials, so should the fans. Give the officials the respect they deserve. If it weren't for them, you wouldn't be able to enjoy the game.

If you're feeling angry at the ref, take a minute to get cool off and get some perspective on the situation. You are not be able to see the action up close and personal from the stands, but the official is out there at eye level watching the action that happens in the blink of an eye. It's not an easy job, and if you think you can do a better job that get the raining to become an official!

  • Support your team, even when they lose. A true fan sticks with their team through good times and bad. It's a sad sight to see the bleachers empty at a stadium 10 minutes before a game is over just because the home team is losing. Stick around until the end and root your team off the field.

Good sportsmanship is watching or coaching an young athlete play sports

Recommended Reading:

Introduction - Modifying Skills and Habits

Developing Personality and Character Traits



Sportsmanship - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect,

Sportsmanship for Parents
Sportsmanship is. EVERYONE'S. Responsibility! The Role of Parents and the role of good sportsmanship. • Be a positive behavior role model

One of the most important goals of kids' sports is helping children develop a sense of good sportsmanship. Here's how to set a good example for your kids.

Citizenship Through Sports Alliance
Organization promotes ethical conduct in athletics; features news, membership information, organizational tools, and contact information.

Sportsmanship - Definition and More from the Free ...
conduct (as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport ...

Teaching Good Sportsmanship -
It's up to adults to teach kids that it's not whether you win or lose, but good sportsmanship is how you play the game.

It seems in our sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. While winning at all costs and poor sportsmanship may be condoned and even ...

Sportsmanship Card
Created in 2005, the MDOC/WDOC Sideline Manager and Sportsmanship Card concepts have been designed to be preventative tools at youth games.

Good Sportsmanship at Family Guide
Positive role model, good sportsmanship. Family Guide: importance of good sportsmanship.

National Sportsmanship Day
NATIONAL SPORTSMANSHIP DAY TUESDAY MARCH 1, 2011 ... View Dan Doyle's National Sportsmanship Day op-ed piece, which appeared in the Providence Journal


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Modifying Athlete Behaviors
Drive and Determination
Different Ways to Say "Good Job"!
Self Doubts & Positive Thinking
Sports & Academics
Bad Attitudes & Self Doubts
Pre and Post Season Training Evaluation
Performance Verses Outcome
All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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