Being a good sport is something that all kids should learn, regardless of what kind of sport they play. These skills are ones that will stick with them for the rest of their lives and carry over into other aspects of their day-to-day life. Good sportsmanship is about more than just shaking hands with the opposing team after the game, though!

What is good sportsmanship?

Good sportsmanship all comes down to practicing respect. From respecting other players and coaches to respecting the rules of the game, instilling in players the idea of showing respect for every aspect of the game will help them learn how to be a good sport.

Being a good sport allows kids to enjoy the natural competition of the game while still maintaining fairness and fun. Players will be taught how to deal with stressful situations and to respect authority figures in order to have as much fun as possible.

At Burlington Basketball, we help kids become good in sport, and to be good sports! Sportsmanship is a life skill that helps our youth become not only great teammates but great community members. Let’s grow together in community!

Girls Team Basketball

Why good sportsmanship matters

The younger you start to teach a player how to be a good sport, the more natural it will become for them. When you make a point to focus on having fun, getting some exercise and making friends, the elements of good sportsmanship will come naturally.

Teaching young athletes that playing a fair and just game that focuses on respect, strong effort and a desire to be their best is the best way to help them learn how to be a good sport both in basketball and in life. Regardless of whether they are winning or losing, ensuring that they play a respectful game will help all players feel fulfilled and positive towards their game experience.

Principles of good sportsmanship

There are many aspects that will have a part in teaching players good sportsmanship. Being a good sport is not just a single thing that can be taught in black and white, there are many different principles that are involved. When you rely on these principles to help you teach children how to enjoy the game, the process becomes much easier and more successful.

  • Own your wins and losses – No one likes a sore winner or a loser that makes up excuses about why they didn’t deliver a win. The ability to recognize shortcomings and learn from them or win the game and not rub it in to the opposing team is an important part of being a good sport.
  • Learn from your mistakes and don’t let them hold you back – Every player is bound to make a mistake on the court and one of the core components of good sportsmanship is the ability to not allow these mistakes hold them back from getting back into the game. This principle is a positive lesson for all kids to learn both on and off the basketball court.
  • Do your best – There’s no doubt that there are going to be good games and bad games for an athlete. The most important thing a good sport can do is to try their best, no matter what that looks like on a given day. Playing hard and making the effort to show up for the team is an important part of being a good sport.
  • Don’t criticize fellow players – Everyone makes mistakes at some point of the game. Teaching players that mistakes should never be criticized and that there is value in continued encouragement will help them learn how to respect each other and show good sportsmanship
  • Show respect – Everyone involved in the game deserves to be respected, including players on the opposing team, all officials and coaches on both sides of the court. Good sportsmanship is almost entirely guided by the ability of all participants to show respect to the game and to everyone involved.

Good sportsmanship has life long effects

The sportsmanship skills that athletes learn when they are young will be carried with them through their entire youth sports career, and well into adulthood. The ability to deal with adversity in a respectful and graceful manner is an essential life skill that will greatly impact them as they grow up. Learning how to get along well with others, even if you don’t get along, as well as the importance of showing respect and kindness to every person you have to deal with will become invaluable both on the court and off. If you want an athlete to develop a love of the game, putting emphasis on becoming a good sport will be what gets them there.