Standards of Positive Sportsmanship

My 12yo A- is now part of the school volleyball team, which is awesome. What’s not so awesome, however, is that there are apparently a lot of parents who have no idea how to be supportive of their children in competitive sports and we get to live with these idiots at almost every game. Our coach sent out an email message about his rules for positive sportsmanship and suggested conduct at a game, and with his permission, I share it here for your reading pleasure and edification.

Dear Volleyball Parents, 

At our school, participation in interscholastic athletics is a privilege and parents, players, coaches and fans alike take pride in adhering to the highest standards of sportsmanship and fair play. As we initiate the season with our first set of competitions, I would like to clarify what positive sportsmanship looks like in action…

Spectators; Support vs. Entertainment. 

Upon entry to athletic events, remind yourself that school sports exist to benefit the character development of the student-athletes whom participate–not our entertainment as fans! Consistent with this belief, we ask that you demonstrate your support and school pride by acknowledging your supporting role but refrain from being an active participant. 

If you have the desire to be more connected to the competitive experience, please consider volunteering as ticket taker, concessions helper, line judge, scoreboard operator or scorekeeper. 

Fan Support Guidelines

Here are the guidelines:

  • Use only those cheers that support and uplift the teams involved.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials. 
  • Support good plays from both teams, not just our own. 
  • Acknowledge that you are at this contest to support the efforts of all of the student-athletes, and your admission earns you the privilege of observing the contest but does not permit you to harass, heckle, intimidate, distract or ridicule. Remember, you’re a witness, not a participant. 
  • Model the behavior you want to see. Parents pick up on each other’s behavior and the kids are watching you as well. If you harp at officials, other will be more likely to do the same. 
  • Honor our high standards of positive sportsmanship even when others are not. 

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Cheering at the opponents mistakes. 
  • Any attempts to distract athletes and/or officials. 
  • Disrespectful, negative or derogatory yells, chants, songs, gestures, including boo’s.
  • Criticizing officials in any way. 

Personal Conduct

Before departing after a game, please take personal responsibility for leaving the gym in better shape then when you found it by picking up all garbage around you and thanking the game host and volunteers when leaving. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to a fun and positive season with all of you.

One comment on “Standards of Positive Sportsmanship

  1. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this blog (I’ve never had an interest in any others)! The issue of positive sportsmanship is one that’s only just begun to affect my oldest son (9). He played baseball last summer and while most parents and coaches were fairly respectful in terms of their language, what bothered me was how MUCH they spoke! People seemed compelled to comment on every single swing and pitch, never giving the kids 5 seconds to concentrate on their game themselves! This applied to parents and coaches alike, although my son’s coach stood out for his calm and quiet manner (and my son really liked him for that). What happened to watching the kids play–being a spectator rather than a commentator? Don’t these people get sick of hearing their own voices? And in the end, I feel they will inadvertently leave the kids with a lack of confidence; that’s the real shame.

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