Sportsmanship: Keys to Success


Sportsmanship is an often-used word, yet no definitive explanation is readily available.  The motto of TAPPS, our interscholastic league, is “Competition with Honor.” Similarly, the definition of sportsmanship used by the University Interscholastic League is “character displayed through athletic competition.” Both of these definitions are based on some key concepts:

  • Citizenship
  • Integrity
  • Respect for Opponents and Officials
  • Fair Play
  • Understanding of the Rules
  • Appreciation for all Performances
  • Personal and Institutional Pride
  • Gracious Acceptance of Results
  • High Moral Character

All SMA Coaches are expected to display and promote the following behaviors:

  • Exemplify the highest moral character, behavior and leadership standards.
  • Respect the integrity and personality of the individual athlete.
  • Abide by and teach the rules of the game in letter and in spirit.
  • Set a good example for players and spectators to follow.
  • Shake hands with the officials and opposing coaches before and after the contest in full view of the public.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials.
  • Display modesty in victory and graciousness in defeat in public.  Please confine remarks to game statistics and to the performance of your team.
  • Instruct participants and spectators in proper sportsmanship responsibilities and demand that they make sportsmanship the No. 1 priority.
  • Develop a program that rewards participants and spectators for displaying proper sportsmanship and enforces penalties on those who do not abide by sportsmanship standards.
  • Treat opponents the way you would like to be treated.
Sportsmanship: players and fans

During home contests, we serve as hosts to the visiting team, its students, and spectators. They are our guests and they should be treated accordingly. At away contests, we are expected to act as invited guests. We will treat the home school’s personnel and facilities with care and respect.

sportsmanship cheerleaders

As participants and spectators, we want to cheer for our team and not against the opponent, being modest in victory and gracious in defeat. Additionally, we will regard the rules of the game as an agreement, the spirit and letter of which we should not break. Players play the game, coaches coach the game . . . no official has ever “lost” a game for a team. Much as we do not readily credit an official for a win, we will not blame an official for a loss. Officials will be treated with respect and we will accept the final decision of any official.

Any member of the San Marcos Academy community who is a participant or spectator at an event who engages in inappropriate behaviors such as profanity, fighting, or similar misconduct will be dismissed from the event and is subject to disciplinary action by the school.

sportsmanship: spectator Expectations

Remember that you are at the contest to support and yell for your team, and to enjoy the skill and competition not to intimidate or ridicule the other team or its fans. School athletics are a learning experience for students and  mistakes are sometimes made. Praise student-athletes in their attempt to improve themselves as students, as athletes, and as people, just as you would praise a student working in the classroom. 

A ticket is a privilege to observe the contest, not a license to verbally assault others or be generally obnoxious. Learn the rules of the game, so that you may understand and appreciate why certain situations take place. Show respect for the opposing players, coaches, spectators and support groups. Recognize and show appreciation for an outstanding play by either team. 

sportsmanship volleyball

Respect the integrity and judgement of game officials. Understand that they are doing their best to help promote the student-athlete and admire their willingness to participate in full view of the public. 

Refrain from the use of any controlled substances (alcohol, drugs, etc.) before, during, and after the game on or near the site of the event (i.e. tailgating). 

Sportsmanship: Being Role Models

Use only cheers that support and uplift the teams involved. Be a positive role model at events through your own actions and by censuring those around you whose behavior is unbecoming. Parents and spectators should be aware that the school can (and should) remove them from the premises and can prohibit them from attending future contests due to undesirable behaviors. Game officials can ask that school administrators have unruly fans removed from a contest facility. 

sportsmanship pledge

There is no such thing as a “right” to attend interscholastic athletics. Interscholastic athletics are considered a “privilege” and the spectator who avails themselves of it is expected to conduct himself or herself accordingly. Keep in mind that you are a guest of the school, and that while winning is certainly an admirable goal, it is hollow if it comes at the expense of morals, ethics, and just plain common sense. 

The school is responsible for the behavior of their spectators. The school  can be and will be punished for actions of patrons in violation of TAPPS standards and rules.