Sportsmanship refers to fair play, respect for opponents, and gracious behavior in winning or losing while participating in sports and games. It embodies the ethics of competition, including integrity, respect, and humility, regardless of the outcome of the event.


  • Character Development: Fosters qualities like respect, integrity, and humility.
  • Positive Relationships: Encourages building positive relationships with teammates, opponents, and coaches.
  • Emotional Regulation: Helps individuals manage emotions and reactions during competitive situations.


  • Books: “The Sportsmanship Guide: How to Be a Good Sport in Any Sport” by Shawn Krest (Amazon) offers insights into practicing sportsmanship across various sports.
  • Websites: The National Alliance for Youth Sports ( provides resources and training for coaches, parents, and young athletes on sportsmanship.
  • Programs: Many local sports leagues and schools offer workshops and programs aimed at promoting good sportsmanship.

Best Age to Start

The concepts of sportsmanship can be introduced as soon as children start participating in any competitive play or sports, typically around 4-6 years old.

Equipment and Materials

  • No specific equipment is required to learn about sportsmanship, as it focuses on behavior and attitude rather than physical tools.

Starting Tips

  • Lead by Example: Coaches and parents should model sportsmanlike behavior at all times.
  • Discuss Scenarios: Talk about hypothetical situations and the sportsmanlike way to respond to them.
  • Praise Good Behavior: Recognize and praise acts of good sportsmanship, not just winning outcomes.

Frequency of Activity

  • Regular Practice: Opportunities to demonstrate sportsmanship arise in every game or sports activity, making it a consistent part of athletic participation.

Requirements/Tasks for Mastery

  • Consistently display sportsmanlike behavior in all competitive situations.
  • Act as a role model for younger or less experienced athletes in demonstrating fair play and respect.
  • Contribute to or lead initiatives that promote sportsmanship within your team, league, or community.

Famous Figures

  • Roger Federer: Known not just for his achievements in tennis but also for his exemplary sportsmanship on and off the court.
  • Jackie Robinson: Demonstrated profound sportsmanship and courage in breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, facing adversity with dignity and grace.

Mastery in sportsmanship involves a deep commitment to the principles of fair play, respect, and integrity, influencing not only one’s own behavior but also the culture of the sporting community around them.

Seven Teachings

Take the Lead