Children who play sports often walk away with important lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. Sportsmanship can be defined as playing fair, following the rules of the game, respecting the rulings of referees, and treating opponents with respect. During the heat of competition, it can be challenging to be a good sport, particularly when the goal is to win. However, sportsmanship is something that should be a priority for players, parents and coaches. Here are some of the ways to be fine sportsmen.
* Abide by the rules of the game. Rules are there for a reason, to promote fairness and to keep play organized and in check. Many sports are a team effort, and the team cannot work effectively if players have their own agendas.
* Practice anger management. Anger can take over when an official makes a questionable call or a teammate makes an error. But arguing with officials or teammates can get in the way of camaraderie and good performance.
* Be a team player. Players have different skill levels and abilities. There will always be the players that excel and those who may not be the MVP. Players should not “hog” the ball or make attempts to exclude others from the game. Enabling everyone to have their chance to shine is a good way to be a good teammate and friend.
* Offer words of encouragement. Even the star player can have a bad game once in awhile. A true sportsman will not tease others when they are down. Teammates should always be encouraging of one another.
* React well to a loss. There will be winners and losers in competition. Bursting into tears or jeering at the winning team reflects badly on you and your teammates. It may not feel good to lose, but be able to share in the joy of the other team and congratulate them on their success. Use a loss as a learning experience that shows you what you and your teammates need to work on going forward.