• Wyatt Underwood

Guide to Promoting Good Sportsmanship On The Playground


Active play and participation in sports can provide excellent opportunities for children. Not only do youngsters need this exercise for healthy physical development, they also need it to help them learn important social skills such as sportsmanship. Organized team sports are one way for children to learn about sportsmanship. Kids can also learn about fair play just by running and jumping on playground equipment with other children.

Definition of Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship involves several important rules of conduct. People exemplify sportsmanship and sportsmanlike behavior when they play fairly and follow the rules of the game. Sportsmanship also involves inherent respect for other people. Players must show this respect for other players on their own team as well as opponents. It’s also important to show respect to all coaches, referees, and game officials. In essence, good sports treat others the way they wish to be treated, both on and off the playing field.

Overview of Healthy Competition

Competition can be challenging for anyone, but children may be especially prone to competition struggles. Playing a sports game involves winning and losing, but every participant can finish the match positively with the right attitude. Rather than focus on winning at any cost, coaches and parents should teach kids to have fun and follow safety rules. With a focus on athletic and social skills, kids can learn how to solve problems, work well with other teammates, and take part in positive, healthy competition in their sporting experiences.

  1. Sportsmanship in Youth Sports (PDF) – Explore the definition and value of sportsmanship for children participating in sports programs, as presented in this article.

  2. Child Safety in Youth Sports (PDF) – Coach philosophies about sportsmanship and winning will set the tone for individual athletes and the team as a whole.

  3. Teach Youth Athletes Good Sportsmanship – Placing too much emphasis on winning can make it difficult for people to practice good sportsmanship. These tips will guide you in instilling sportsmanship values in young athletes.

  4. Team Sports Safety for Children Ages Six to 19 Years – When children become members of a sporting team, they can learn valuable lessons about self-discipline and sportsmanship.

  5. Social and Emotional Development: Ages 8-10 – Sportsmanship lessons teach kids how to win and lose gracefully.

  6. Developing Sportsmanship (PDF) – Participation in youth sports can give children opportunities to develop skills that allow them to play fairly as generous competitors.

  7. Helping Your Child Be a Good Sport – When you see your child practicing good sportsmanship, provide positive feedback about these actions to reinforce them.

  8. Emphasizing Sportsmanship in Youth Sports – Teach children basic respect for everyone to help them extend this respect to opponents in a sporting event.

  9. The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports – Children can derive a number of benefits from participating in youth sports; however, excessive levels of competition can interfere with benefits.

  10. Youth Sports; Coach, They’re Not Pros – Youth coaches must remember that children require special management and a focus on teaching important skills like fairness and sportsmanship.

  11. Children Need to Play, Not Compete (PDF) – Children often benefit from the opportunity to simply play sports rather than engage in intense competition.

  12. Physical Activity and Positive Youth Development – The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports shares the positive benefits of children engaging in physical activity.

  13. Developing Social Competence in Children – Children need practice in sporting situations to help them learn how to manage aggression and anger.

  14. The Importance of Recess and Play – Recess and time playing on the playground provides children with important opportunities for physical activity and socialization.

  15. 10 Tips for Raising a Good Sport – Teach your children good sportsmanship by modeling it from the sidelines, showing respect for others, and encouraging fair play.

  16. What is Sportsmanship? – Explore the definition of sportsmanship to ensure that your children adopt these qualities as they engage in sporting activities.

  17. How to Prevent Bullying on the Playground – Information about how playground supervisors can create an environment of safety for children as they play on playground equipment.

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