Why is Sportsmanship important? (Major reasons)8 min read

Sportsmanship is a vital element of sports that ignites and maintains friendship, respect, and orderliness. It describes unbiased and kind behavior while treating opponents, officials, teammates, and spectators in sports.

However, sportsmanship is more than just being kind to people in sports but a collection of good ethics that must be practiced by us anywhere we find ourselves.

Everyone should encourage sportsmanship because it develops positive qualities in people that guard against bitterness, hatred, and jealousy. Sportsmanship stands for everything right and must be practiced in all aspects and dealings of life. 

Hence, this article will discuss the importance of sportsmanship and provide a general overview of everything that represents sportsmanship in sports. Read on and enjoy!

What is Sportsmanship?

Sportsmanship is the ethical aspect of sports. It is displayed by the combination of positive qualities like fair play, integrity, and respect towards opponents, officials, teammates, and even the fans.

Sportsmanship can also be demonstrated by displaying politeness even in defeat and sustaining self-discipline in dealings with others.

Every moral act in sports represents sportsmanship, and even as a fan, upholding the spirit of sportsmanship will sustain peace, love, and respect between us and our rivals.

Ways to demonstrate good sportsmanship

Even action we take when partaking in sports has an impact on the game. For instance, in football, biased judgment by officials, fights between opposing fan bases, and verbal exchanges between two opponents are common issues that can disrupt football matches.

However, showing good sportsmanship will prevent chaos and create a peaceful environment that helps us enjoy sports better. Hence, while engaging in sports, display sportsmanship in the following ways;

Become a team player:

No matter your talents, it is impossible to win without the help of your teammates. Hence, putting your interests above the team does not represent good sportsmanship. Team players accept team responsibilities, arrive at training on time, and maintain calmness even during tense moments.

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Avoid trash talking:

Emotions in sports can make you regret actions, and trash-talking is sadly one of them. Calling your teammate or opponent names would not help you win but will disrupt the game’s flow, which is one thing sportsmanship oppose.

Have self-control:

In sports activities like football, a bad tackle by an opponent on you or your teammate can easily flare you up. However, sportsmanship proposes that you never allow your anger to affect your behavior. 

Retaliating is never a great way to pay back, as you could end up on the wrong side of it.

Respect the officials

When the decision of the umpire or referee goes against you during a game, you must respect it, and even if they made an error, do not argue with them either because nobody is perfect. Rather, draw the attention of your coach; they know the right action to take.

Play fair

Fair play means abiding by the rules and regulations of the game, and every sportsman or woman must partake in sports activities in an unbiased way.

Good sportsmanship stands for everything right in sports, and when engaging in sports, play by the rules and don’t look to cut corners.

Listen to your coach:

No matter the talent you possess, you must understand that coaches have full control over the team. As a result, if they decide to adjust or limit your function in the team, don’t whine about it; instead, support their decision for the team’s overall good.

Respect the efforts of your opponents:

Having respect for the efforts of your opponents is a great way to display good sportsmanship.

As a result, when participating in sports, have an open mind and don’t carry grudges against your opponents or single out a standout player, even if they are outperforming you in every way.

Understand that they also worked hard enough, and they deserve to have a go at winning too.

Learn the sports before playing:

If you know nothing about the sport’s rules, learn it first before jumping into it to avoid causing problems when certain correct decisions go against your way.

You can even ask your family members or friends familiar with the game for tips on how to play or check online for videos that will boost your knowledge of the game.          

Be open to learning:

Nobody is perfect, and you can continuously make a mistake that affects your team out of ignorance. In most cases, your teammate can point you to some corrections, and cheerfully embracing these corrections is a way to display good sportsmanship.

Help another player up who has fallen:

Whether it is your teammate or opponent when a player falls to the ground and does not require medical attention, help the player up. It is one of the clearest ways to display sportsmanship in sports.

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Give your best effort:

When you are called upon to play for the team, give your best efforts. And if you are not in the right mental frame to compete, you can politely ask the coach to leave you out of the team as a bad performance from you can derail the whole team’s efforts.

Don’t be a sore loser:

Sore losers are people that are not gracious in defeat. Even when they lose, these people try to talk down their opponent’s victory, which does not represent good sportsmanship.

Rather than becoming a sore loser, develop the habit of congratulating your opponents even in defeat.

Support your teammates

I once watched a football match where a player missed a last-minute draw-earning penalty. In that moment of despair, his teammates surrounded him to encourage him.

Supporting your teammates no matter the outcome of their decisions is a great way to show sportsmanship.


When you make errors that cost your team victory in a game or event, apologize immediately. By this, you are demonstrating true sportsmanship.

Importance of Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is vital to the success of any sports activity because sports would not be enjoyable if they were played without regard to good sportsmanship.

Moreover, abiding in the ways of good sportsmanship is important because it helps us in the following ways;

Develop respect for others:

Demonstrating good sportsmanship towards people in sports develops our respect for others.

By respecting the rules of the game, the referee’s or umpire’s decisions, the decision of our coaches, or suggestions of our teammates, we learn to tolerate and respect people no matter their positions.

Win with dignity:

Any honorable person does not bend the rules to win, and since sportsmanship promotes fairness, it helps us disregard cheating and play by the rules while dealing with others.

By this, we learn to win with dignity, knowing that our win resulted from our efforts.

Become a disciplined person:

People who react angrily towards the officials’ decisions are normally punished and sometimes banned from competing in other events. Hence, by offering no room for recklessness, sportsmanship teaches us to be disciplined.

Stay humble:

Shaking hands with opponents after a sports event or match even when you have lost is one way to demonstrate sportsmanship.

By understanding that failure is part of the game, we develop the character of humility which helps us accept failure and work hard to win. 

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Learn to be a team player:

Teamwork is an important virtue essential for collective success. By encouraging us to support our teammates when they make mistakes and accept team roles even when we are not comfortable with them, sportsmanship develops the character of teamwork in us. It encourages us to put ourselves on the line for the team.

Develop the character of empathy:

By being gracious in winning and respecting the efforts of our opponents, sportsmanship builds in us the character of empathy.

Exercise self-control in difficult situations:

Sportsmanship does not give room to any form of physical confrontations, and it discourages verbal abuses towards teammates, coaches, officials, and opponents.

By exercising control over our emotions or actions, we practice the character of self-control, which is vital when dealing with people. 

Develops your abilities:

Since sportsmanship encourages us to give our best no matter the role we are asked to perform in the team, we develop our abilities by completing greater tasks.

It teaches us to be appreciative:

Sportsmanship encourages us to appreciate the efforts of our teammates; by this, it instills in us the spirit of gratitude.

Develop good characters in us:

Respect, honesty, humility, self-discipline, self-control, fairness, and tolerance are some of the amazing qualities that you will develop when you exercise the spirit of sportsmanship. These characters will shape you to become a better person in society.


Sportsmanship is a collection of good attributes to be practiced in sports and is fundamental to the success of any sports event. It goes beyond our behaviors towards officials and opponents and extends to describe the right way to behave towards our teammates.

Sportsmanship is important because it develops good values in us that shape our decisions. Hence, it must be embraced by us in all aspects of life.

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