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What is Good Sportsmanship?

Scouting and sports go together. Many of Scouting recognitions require that the Scout discuss sportsmanship. So what does good sportsmanship mean?

Following the Rules

Learn the rules for your sport and follow them to the best of your ability. And if you make a mistake, handle it gracefully and admit you messed up. Nobody’s perfect and most people appreciate honesty.

Playing Fair

Fairness goes beyond following the rules of the sport. It means following the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated.  So if you are in a gray area with the rules and you are not sure if they apply or not, think about how you would feel if you were on the other team before you act.

Showing Respect for Opponents

Be courteous to your opponents. Say hello and be friendly before the game and afterwards. Be friendly on the field or court. There is no need to trash talk. And here’s the difficult part – stay cool and be polite even if your opponents are not as well behaved as you. No matter what the outcome of the game, you can be proud at the end that you did not stoop to the level of unsportsmanlike opponents.

Showing Respect for Teammates

Don’t forget to be respectful to your teammates also. Maybe you have some kids on your team who aren’t quite as good as you (or as good as you think you are). Be kind, encouraging, and patient with them. First of all, these are your friends. Second, many young athletes are late bloomers. Or they might develop into team leaders who help the team work together . You never know who that kid sitting next to you on the bench might turn out to be in a few years or how they might help inspire others.

Showing Respect for Officials

Everyone gets to make mistakes. That includes officials. Maybe that call was right and maybe it was wrong. But chances are that you would make plenty of mistakes as an official also. So if you really need to dispute a call, do it politely and if the official indicates that the decision is final, don’t continue arguing.  This goes for players, coaches, and fans.


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