What Is Meant by Sportsmanship? A Comprehensive Guide


It’s a question we’ve all heard before: What is meant by sportsmanship? From watching professionals on the field to tackling drills on the court, many of us have seen instances of what good sportsmanship should look like. And yet, when asked to define it, few of us can confidently answer.

Good sportsmanship is more than just rules broken or well-played games. It’s a balance of respect and good behavior that applies not only to athletes but to coaches, officials, and spectators too. More than that, there are specific values and characteristics associated with the concept that gives us a better understanding of what it means.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll review why sportsmanship is so important and outline five core characteristics. We’ll also dive into seven key values that can help you develop better sportsmanship skills as an athlete, coach, or spectator.

What Is Meant by Sportsmanship?

Sportsmanship is the behavior, attitude, and spirit of fairness that is expected from those who participate in sports. It includes respect for teammates, opponents, officials, coaches, and fans. Sportsmanship is not just limited to athletes – it also extends to coaches, parents, and spectators.

Put simply, sportsmanship is the practice of good behavior before, during, and after a competitive sporting event. It involves treating opponents with respect and being gracious in both victory and defeat. It involves respecting the rules of the game and demonstrating fair play at all times.

Sportsmanship can be an invaluable skill both on and off the field; characteristics such as hard work, perseverance, teamwork, and integrity are all part of what makes a great sportsperson. The 7 values of sport include respect for oneself & others; fairness; equality; courage; integrity; teamwork; & enjoyment – together they form the foundation of good sportsmanship.

Finally, perhaps one of the most important aspects of being a good sport is adhering to the golden rule: treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. In essence, this is what being a true “sportsman” means – embodying these values on the field and beyond it.

Who Is a Sportsperson?

A sportsperson is anyone who loves, plays, and enjoys sports—regardless of age, gender, or background. This includes athletes who compete at professional and amateur levels, as well as those who play for recreational purposes. A sportsperson can be a coach or a referee, too. They all share the same goal: to experience the joy, challenge, and camaraderie that comes with participating in sports.

But true sportsperson doesn’t just play for themselves; they also strive to be a good role model for others. Sportsmanship—or the quality of being respectful and fair during a game—is one of the key traits of a true sportsperson. It can mean following the rules of the game, being polite to your opponents and teammates alike, offering encouragement when someone is feeling down, or congratulating them on their successes. Good sportsmanship not only benefits you as an individual but fosters team spirit and creates an enjoyable environment for everyone involved.

What Are the 7 Values of Sport?

When it comes to sportsmanship, seven core values make up the foundation of good sportsmanship. These values are respected for yourself, respect for your opponents and officials, fairness, integrity, effort, enjoyment, and control. Respect for yourself means that you should be honest with yourself and strive to do your best. Respect for your opponents and officials is about interacting with them courteously and fairly. Additionally, fairness means that you must play by the rules and be open to playing with anyone of any skill level.

Integrity is defined as having behavior that shows honesty, trustworthiness, honor, and loyalty. The next value is effort—you should strive to use your best effort in every game or practice so that you can take away important lessons from each experience. Enjoyment is about actively participating at the moment without dwelling on the results—even if the outcome isn’t favorable. Finally, control means maintaining an appropriate attitude during practice or competition by staying focused and refraining from displays of anger or frustration.

By following these 7 values of the sport while engaging in physical activity, you can become a great sportsperson who displays exemplary behavior both on and off the field or court!

What are the 10 qualities of sportsmanship?

If you want to become the best and most respected athlete, it’s essential to understand the qualities of sportsmanship. These are the traits that will help you succeed on and off the field – regardless of whether you’re an amateur or professional.

So, what are these 10 qualities?

  1. Teamwork: Working together as a team is fundamental to any successful sporting endeavor. Sportsmanship involves understanding your role within a team, working together, and supporting each other.
  2. Integrity: Playing fair and respecting the rules of the game is vital to maintain respect for yourself and those around you. This means adhering to all rules both written and unwritten that are related to the sport being played.
  3. Respect: Respect for your opponents and teammates alike is key when it comes to sportsmanship. Not just in terms of what’s said, but also in showing respect in a practical sense on the field with your behavior towards everyone involved in the sport – including referees, coaches, fans, and others present at games or events.
  4. Graciousness: Winning isn’t everything; displaying good manners both in victory and defeat is a sign of true sportsmanship.
  5. Self-Control: Demonstrating restraint when interacting with other players is essential if you want to show sportsmanship on the field or court. Maintaining self-control even after something has angered you shows how much respect you have for your opponents as well as yourself – it also sends a message that such behavior won’t be tolerated within your team or by those playing against it.
  6. Resilience: One of the hallmarks of sporting greats is their resilience; showing mental

What Are the Characteristics of Sportsmanship?

If you’re trying to understand sportsmanship, there are certain characteristics that it’s important to be aware of. Sportsmanship is one of the main foundations of any sport—and if nobody is practicing sportsmanship, then it’s not really a sport at all. But understanding what it requires knowing what the characteristics of sportsmanship are.

The five core characteristics of sportsmanship are:

  • Respect for the rules: All athletes should respect the rules and regulations of a game and never attempt to gain an unfair advantage by breaking them.
  • Respect for officials: Officials should be respected as they have an important role in controlling the game according to its laws and regulations.
  • Respect for opponents: Opponents should be treated with respect, no matter how challenging their level or style of play may be.
  • Fair play: All athletes should strive for fairness, even when challenging themselves or others so that everyone can enjoy the game equally.
  • Good attitude: Athletes should demonstrate a positive attitude at all times, even in tough situations, as this will help set an example for others in the way they play and interact with their opponents.

By developing these characteristics within yourself as an athlete and promoting them within your team or league, you can create a strong foundation of sportsmanship within any sport or activity.

What Is Good Sportsmanship?

Good sportsmanship is about playing fair, respecting your opponents, and exhibiting a positive attitude in the face of adversity. It also means being humble in victory and gracious in defeat. It’s about having fun playing the game of sport, and not taking the win or loss too seriously.

At its core, good sportsmanship means that players are honest, accountable and have respect for the rules of the game and for their opponents—it requires a commitment to fair play and an understanding of the principles of sportsmanship.

Here are a few characteristics of good sportsmanship:

  1. A competitive spirit that is focused on competing against oneself rather than other players
  2. Showing respect to other players by following rules, being on time, and making sure everyone has a chance to compete
  3. Admitting mistakes quickly rather than trying to cover them up
  4. Being generous with praise towards fellow competitors
  5. Recognizing that everyone’s contribution to a team effort is equally important

Is Sportsmanship a Skill?

You might be wondering if sportsmanship is a skill that can be learned and developed. The answer is yes—sportsmanship is definitely a skill! As with any skill, it requires practice and repetition to develop.

Sportsmanship helps us to understand the importance of fair play and respect for the rules of the game, our opponents, and everyone involved. Also important is learning how to remain composed when things don’t go as planned, either for yourself or your team. When playing a sport, it’s important to be mindful of the power of your words, both on and off the field.

Here are some tips for developing your sportsmanship skills:

  1. Pay attention to how you speak to others during practice or games
  2. Respect those who are better than you at the game; learn from them
  3. Cheer on fellow teammates regardless of whether they make mistakes or have success
  4. Follow the rules and regulations of the sport you are playing
  5. Show respect to referees, opponents, coaches, and spectators alike

What makes a great sportsman?

So what makes a great sportsman? Well, it might just be easier to list the key characteristics that make up a good sport:

  1. Respect: This starts with respect for the rules, the opponent, and the officials. Respect also means treating all the players and referees equally and dealing with any situations that arise appropriately.
  2. Fairness: A great sportsman knows their own rights and strives to guarantee fairness for others too, by understanding the rules and respecting their opponents.
  3. Integrity: A proud sportsman will always act honestly, not taking shortcuts to boost their chances of winning at any cost. When challenging decisions are made by officials on the field or court, they should be respected even if they do not go in favor of you or your team.
  4. Compassion: Sporting activity should be fun for everyone involved, so sportsmen need to be supportive and understanding of their teammates as well as other participants in a game – especially when things don’t go as planned.
  5. Responsibility: A great sportsman takes responsibility for both their actions and those of their teammates, no matter what happens during a game or event. They also have an understanding that, in anything you do in life, there are consequences for decisions made – good or bad.

why is sportsmanship important?

Sportsmanship is important because it helps players discover and practice the values that transcend sports and can be applied throughout life. It helps create a positive environment for everyone involved, from fans to players to coaches.

Respect Your Opponents

The most important part of being a sportsman is showing respect for your opponents. This means respecting their decisions, respecting their talents, and respecting the fact that they worked hard to get where they are. It also means maintaining a level of self-control so that you don’t let emotions control your behavior on the field or court.

Good Conduct

Another aspect of sportsmanship is good to conduct. This includes following all rules of the game or sport, such as not arguing with officials or engaging in unsportsmanlike behavior. Good conduct also includes being honest at all times and owning up to any mistakes you make. Taking responsibility after making a mistake is an important lesson when it comes to sportsmanship.


Integrity is another key component of sportsmanship that promotes fairness in competition. It’s about playing by the rules and not taking advantage of any opportunity presented by bending them. It’s also about following through on your commitments, including showing up on time for practices and games and giving your best effort no matter what result you may achieve at the end of the day. A commitment to integrity makes any team stronger both on and off the field or court.

Following the Golden Rule of Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is not just about winning or losing—it’s also about how we conduct ourselves off the field and during competition. In short, it’s about respect and holding yourself to a higher moral standard that goes beyond the rules of the game.

That’s why there is a golden rule of sportsmanship that all athletes should strive to practice: treat others with respect. This means playing hard and fair, accepting victory humbly, and acknowledging defeat graciously. It also means respecting your opponents, your teammates, your coaches, officials, and spectators.

Being a great sportsman also means being honest and humble in victory or defeat, helping those around you to do their best while avoiding violent behavior, using kind words when talking to others, playing with integrity, and giving credit where it is due.

Ultimately, the golden rule of sportsmanship is quite simple: Show respect for others on and off the field so that others can show you the same courtesy in return.


To round up our comprehensive guide to sportsmanship, we can confidently say that the definition of sportsmanship is much more than just fairly playing a game or match – it’s a way of life that focuses on a combination of 7 values, 5 characteristics, and a golden rule. Sportsmanship is about respecting opponents, learning from mistakes, and playing the game with skill and courtesy.

It’s about recognizing that sports are an opportunity to learn, grow and build relationships that can last a lifetime. A true sportsperson is someone who plays with integrity, honor, and humility, and treats others with dignity and respect. So, what are you waiting for? Channel your inner sportsperson and make it a part of your life!

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