IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP
Community youth sports programs serve kids from preschool through teens. Games that were once played with few spectators now draw dozens of parents, grandparents and friends to the sidelines, cheering and chanting. Unfortunately, we find much too often, berating of officials, coaches and even players. Competition can be intense and coaches feeling the pressure to produce victories, may find themselves behaving in ways they later regret.
Today the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. Sportsmanship is a manifestation of our own ethics in real life. Sportsmanship like ethics reflects both the character and the actions of a coach. The image a coach projects on the field is usually a product of his or her character.
The following are good sportsmanship rules:
· Apply the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you
· Have an understanding and an appreciation of the rules
· Enjoy yourself and encourage enjoyment of others
· Take responsibility for your actions
· Exhibit respect for the officials - umpires are impartial arbitrators who perform to the best of their ability to make sure the game is played fair and within the rules; mistakes made by all those involved are part of the game and must be accepted.
· Do not tolerate bad behavior from your teammates.
· Shake hands with the opponent before and after the game, regardless of the outcome.
· Cheer in a positive manner
· Accept all decisions [of judgment] by officials without question.
· Applaud good plays by both teammates and opponents.
· Applaud at the end of the contest for the performance of all participants.
· Encourage all surrounding people (fans included) to display a sportsmanlike behavior.
· Show concern for an injured player, regardless of the team.
· Win with class, lose with dignity.
The following are examples of unacceptable (unsportsmanlike) behavior:
· Use of disrespectful or derogatory comments, cheers or gestures.
· Referral to any opponent by name, team name or position. “Pitcher choked”
· Criticize officials in any way – or displays of temper over an official’s call.
· Display of temper when you or a teammate is not successful.
· Refuse to shake hands or recognize good play.
· Laugh or name call to distract an opponent.
· Criticize other players or coaches for the loss of a game.
· Use profanity or display anger.
Here are five things each coach can do to really show their players what being “a good sport” is really all about:
(1) Be your players’ role model.
(2) Offer praise and encouraging words for all athletes, including your team’s opponents.
(3) Cheer for all the players, even those on the other team.
(4) Thank the officials. Youth sport officials state that such positive feedback, rare as it often is, goes a long way in motivating them to stick with their officiating work and keeps them going through bad times. All too often the only words an official hears (and remembers, these are often young people themselves), are harsh words of criticism such as “you blew the call,” “get some glasses,” “you’re killing me,” “brutal,” or even “you’re ruining the game ump.”
(5) Talk to coaches of the other team; they’re not the enemy!
Coaching children is an honor and a privilege that carries with it a moral responsibility to contribute to the healthy character development of young players. Coaches who equate “trying your best” as the definition of success -- and who value, expect, and demand good sportsmanship from their players -- help shape the moral, ethical, and spiritual character of children.
Teaching sportsmanship is also a responsibility of parents. Parents, remember to be a parent, not a coach: resist the urge to critique. Many young athletes dread the ride home after a game with their parent(s). That’s because, win or lose, they know their parents will go over their performance in detail, pointing out al their mistakes. After the game, nothing can be done; history cannot be changed! The urge to criticize a child’s performance is very natural for parents.
Most successful athletes (at the Olympic or professional level) share something in common - their parent’s lack of criticism of their sporting performance. Many of these athletes comment “…they just wanted me to play and have fun”. Other athletes would say “…mom and dad never had much to say in how I played; they left that to the coach. But I knew they were always there for me, no matter how I did.”
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