Sportsmanship is all about respecting the opponent, your teammates, and yourself. Whether you care about the other person or team or not, it is important to display good behavior towards other people during competition. This helps to develop character and is especially important for children to learn when they are participating in sport.
Here we will show you three ways to teach sportsmanship. These ideas are very simple to teach and these ideas can be taught to any age group.
1. Emphasize that your team shows graciousness.
When you show graciousness towards another team, you are showing them respect as an opponent.
Whether the lost or won, encouraging the team to show that sense of graciousness means that the other team is likely to show the same respect again the next time they play against your team. This is a life skill that will serve children well as they move on to more important things in life.
2. Make the team focus on the effort, rather than the result.
People who are results oriented are the kinds of people only care about the result, rather than the process that it took to get to that result. The more successful your team is, the more that your team has ingratiated itself with the idea that effort means more than results.
By doing this, your team is less likely to get upset over the result and more likely to show respect to the opponent. It teaches the team that all games are simply tests and in order to win, more focus needs to be placed on the effort and on the aspects of the performance which were sub-par.
An important life skill is how a person prepares to win. The will to will is nothing compared with the will to prepare to win. You can learn drills and techniques at a site like Piranha (http://www.piranhasportsfitness.com/basketball/agility-training-exercise-guide), and you can then teach kids that training is the most important part of sport. Victory in the realm of practice, when nobody is looking, is more important than victory on the field. However, when you have victories in practice, you tend to have victory in the game as well.
3. Force the team to put the game into context.
Bad sportsmanship stems from the idea that every game is a life or death situation. Therefore, the teams that thinks this way tends to forget about sportsmanship and only focus on the result.
Get the team to realize that not every game is important in the context of life. While it is important to win, it is more important to realize that life moves on after a loss. The game isn’t everything, and it’s only a game. In the grander scheme of things, winning isn’t very important at all. What is important is how one reacts to winning or to losing.
That is one of the most important lessons that sports teaches us. To lose and to win with grace. Make sure you emphasize this principle when you are teaching a team or your own child how to participate in sports.