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“Sportsmanship: The Only Missing Piece Is You!”

Attitude Check List

As a coach, player, administrator or spectator, are you learning the lifetime skills of integrity, honesty and respect that should be associated with high school athletics? These qualities will help you become a better person regardless of the final score.

Check your sportsmanship quotient with the “SPORTSMANSHIP: The Only Missing Piece is YOU!” checklist.

YES  -  NO     Have the purposes of educational athletics and the values taught by such activities been discussed by coaches, players, other students, administrators and parents? Remember that interscholastic athletic activities have a mission like classroom activities, and they all blend for the betterment of young people.

YES  -  NO     Have coaches, players, and parents discussed what each party wants from the experience? Studies have shown that most youngsters play for fun and would rather play for a losing team than sit on the bench of a winning one.

YES  -  NO     Are you aware of the effects criticism and ridicule by coaches and unruly spectators at high school games can have on players? Overly harsh criticism or harassment of players, especially young ones, can seriously damage their self-image (confidence) and even turn them away from sports.

YES  -  NO     Do you make an effort to keep up-to-date on the rules of your favorite sport and improve yourself as a student of the game? It’s a fact that the more knowledgeable coach is a better teacher of the game; the more knowledgeable player and spectators appreciate the game more; and that creates an atmosphere for better sportsmanship.

YES  -  NO     Do you try to educate others about the game they are watching, the rules of the contest, and the value of sportsmanship? Many spectators who become unruly at events are generally not well versed in the game itself, or the multitude of changes that have occurred since their “playing days.” Likewise, they do not recognize the difference between athletic entertainment at the professional level, and athletics at the high school level.

YES  -  NO     Do you treat opponents and game officials with respect?; Referees and other officials are trained to know and interpret the rules. Opponents provide the most important factor of a game, the competition.

YES  -  NO     Do you realize that a very small percentage of high school athletes earn college scholarships, and that an even smaller percentage play professionally? Often, the goal to win and attract a college scholarship overshadows the true purpose of interscholastic athletics. The pressure coaches and parents place on athletes in this manner is unhealthy.

YES  -  NO     Are there established guide lines for team behavior and are they known by players and parents? Players and parents should know the penalties for breaking the rules, including acting in an unsportsmanlike manner.

YES  -  NO     Are players recognized and/or rewarded for achievements other than the scoring or earning of points? Sportsmanlike behavior, teamwork and improved performance are very important contributions to the team, and some of the long term values learned in athletics.

YES  -  NO     Do you practice what you preach? All of these points are for naught if you don’t shape proper behavior by setting a good example for others to follow. This includes reminding those rude “anonymous” individuals next to you at events, of the importance of good sportsmanship and the true purpose of the game.


Score one point for each “YES” answer.

9 to 10 – Congratulations! You recognize the values taught in interscholastic athletic competition and work with those around you to better their understanding.

6 to 8 – You’re trying, but you could gain valuable experience by taking more time to learn about the true importance of high school athletics and about the game you’re watching.

5 or less – You need to appreciate more fully that imitating the behavior of athletes, coaches and spectators seen on television at professional athletic events is not compatible with the mission of high school athletics. Spend some time with a knowledgeable person in your community to learn the lessons students learn in the athletic classroom.

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