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EIGHT GREAT TRAITS OF A GOOD SPORT (from Little League International)

It has been estimated that managers and parents miss up to 83 percent of “what’s right” because they’re focused on “what’s wrong.”   As youth sports coaches and parents, it’s easy to spot poor sportsmanship, but we always need to be on the lookout for good sportsmanship.  There are many ways kids can show good sportsmanship.  And, while most youth sports coaches and parents recognize the essentials of good sportsmanship (losing without complaining; winning without gloating; and respecting officials, teammates, and opponents); a creative positive coach will cite specific examples of various aspects of sportsmanship when giving out the sportsmanship award after a game.

   1. Follows Coach’s Instructions
   2. Encourages Teammates
   3. Plays as a Team Player
   4. Accepts Judgments Calls
   5. Respects Opponent
   6. Loses without Complaining
   7. Wins without Gloating
   8. Learns from Mistakes

Here is a game scenario for each trait. Be on the lookout for your own situations.

Follows Coach’s Instructions
The third base coach gives a bunt sign to the hitter to move the runner at first into scoring position. The hitter focuses on the signs and picks up the bunt signal. The hitter knows the bunt could affect his batting average, but he’s a team player and lays down a sacrifice.

Encourages Teammates
A player makes an error and hangs his head. His teammate encourages the player, saying, “Hang in there. You’ll get it next time.”

Plays as a Team Player
Coach asks a player to play in the outfield because he needs his speed and strong arm. The player would rather play in the infield because he thinks there’s more action there, but he decides to use his speed and arm to become the best outfielder he can be. He enjoys helping the team.

Accepts Judgment Calls

A player tags out a runner at second base. The umpire calls the runner “safe.” The player disagrees and wants to argue, but concentrates on the runner rounding third base, keeping the runner from scoring.

Respects Opponent
A player hits a long, fly ball to left-center field. The left fielder catches it on a dead run. As the player passes the left fielder at the end of the inning, he says, “Nice catch!”

Loses without Complaining
A player’s team just lost a close game. There were some close calls by the umpire that could have meant the difference between winning and losing. As the player goes through the “high five” line after the game, he fights off the temptation to say, “You didn’t beat us, the ump did.” Instead, he simply says “Good game!” to each player, with no excuses.

Wins without Gloating
A pitcher has a full count on the other team’s best hitter. There’s a runner on third base with two outs, and the pitcher’s team is ahead by one run. His fastball catches the outside corner. The batter strikes out looking. The pitcher runs into the dugout, with no trash talk and no “Take that!” gestures to the batter.

Learns from Mistakes
A player lets a ground ball go under his glove. He makes no excuses. He doesn’t blame the field condition, or his glove, or the weather. He doesn’t “beat himself up” emotionally. He learns from his mistake. He reminds himself to stay known on the ball next time.

Please be sure to extend good sportsmanship to our umpires as well.

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