IMPROVING ADULT SPECTATOR SPORTSMANSHIP    

Case Studies  |    Self-Evaluation

A.  EFFECTIVE PRESEASON MEETINGS

1.   Make them mandatory.
2.   Provide advance communication that is timely, attractive and upbeat.
3.   Schedule a prominent and effective keynote speaker (Ruster Foundation, etc.).
4.   Schedule officials to present explanation of new or confusing rules.
5.   Present NIAAA/MHSAA videos.
6.   Stress positives. Recognize past excellent sportsmanship. Make sportsmanship banner presentations and/or plaque presentations for previous season or year sportsmanship honors. Create honors programs if none exist.
7.   Explain to parents that they are leaders and need to lead in the stands.
8.   Explain sportsmanship ratings of schools if such is in effect for your league.
9.   Explain booster club involvement in general and its responsibility for leadership in sportsmanship.
10. Distribute and explain sportsmanship expectations and consequences.
11. Have students explain at preseason meeting to parents what proper conduct is.
12. Have students and parents do sportsmanship skits.
13. Address how to welcome officials.
14. Share stories on how fans have been dealt with in the past.
15. Review the privileges and disciplines of athletics.
16. Have parents and students sign a code of conduct.
 

B.  RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUPPORT STAFF, BOOSTERS, TEACHERS, CHEERLEADERS . .

1.  Cheerleaders . . .

a.  Prepare only cheers that help set positive climate.
b.  Have positive chants ready for whenever negative cheers begin, creating an immediate override.
c.  Read the sportsmanship announcement before contests.
d.  Check for unruly behavior and tell security.

2.  Coaches . . .

     The coach's behavior sets the tone. Educate them to create a positive, educational atmosphere by:
a.  Shaking hands of officials in front of the crowd.
b.  Insisting their student-athletes do the same.

3.  Support Staff . . .

a.  Have enough on hand at events.
b.  Designees should wear identifiable apparel (vests, polo shirts, sweatshirts, etc.).
c.  Make sure that these people have guidelines as to what their responsibilities are.
d.  Have them act as hosts for opposing teams and fans.
e.  Train staff to pull students aside and remind them to act appropriately.

4.  Announcer . . .

a.  Introduce all players, not just the starters.
b.  Introduce players in an unbiased tone.

5.  Booster Clubs . . .

a.  Provide banners encouraging good sportsmanship.
b.  Encourage school-to-school booster club relationships.

6.  Parents . . .

a.  Enlist their assistance during preseason meetings.
b.  Encourage one another at preseason meetings for proper conduct and being good role models.
c.  Utilize a pledge sheet to encourage behavior.

C.  EDUCATING AND EMPOWERING OFFICIALS FOR DEALING WITH UNSPORTSMANLIKE BEHAVIORS

1.   Meet and greet officials.
2.   Inform them of the school's support for them.
3.   Let them know the school's expectations.
4.   Let them know ahead of time of any "history" with spectators present.
5.   Advise them not to get in discussions or arguments with fans, but let the AD or security deal with any problem.
6.   Encourage them to communicate with coaches and players, but not to attempt to become friends with players.
7.   Utilize a post-game ratings checklist.

D.  PREGAME SPORTSMANSHIP SCRIPTS AND HANDSHAKE PROCEDURES

1.  It's important that athletes are on the field before most sportsmanship activities take place.

2.  Facilitate a handshake before the National Anthem. Involve more than captains shaking hands; spectators need to see the spirit of sportsmanship.

3.  Coaches should shake hands publicly before the game.

4.  Player reads: "We, as athletes, pledge to play to the best of our abilities tonight. Above all, we will exhibit sportsmanship that represents our community in a favorable way.  Please, as parents and loyal spectators, recognize and embrace this same spirit of fair play as you cheer for your favorite team."

      - OR -

     "On behalf of the athletes of both schools, we welcome all fans to tonight's contest. P1 - "I, (name) as quarterback for (team) plan to throw only complete passes." P2 - "I, (name) as a defensive back for (other school) plan to do everything in my power to prevent him from doing that." P1 - "Although we are opponents on the field tonight, and we both really want to win this game, we plan to do so in the spirit of fair play." P2 - "Please support us in our efforts. We may not always succeed in what we're trying to do, but when we hear praise when we succeed, we are more likely to do it again." P1 - "Try not to be critical of us or our teammates; we are all trying to do the best we can. We need to know that you support us in what we are trying to do."

5.   Parent reads: "As a parent of a student-athlete, I'd like to welcome you here tonight and wish you good luck as you cheer for your favorite team. Please keep in mind that this contest is simply an extension of the academic classroom. Not only do I expect my child and his/her teammates to try their hardest, but I expect them to play fair and by the rules. I would also like to ask that all spectators keep the positive spirit intended for high school athletics in mind. Keep your cheers positive and refrain from criticizing officials, coaches and the participants, and recognize good performances by members of either team. Let us, as spectators, present ourselves as positive role models for the youth who are looking to us for leadership."

      - OR –

      "Hello, my name is _____, my son/ daughter is #__, and he/she is playing in tonight's game. I would like to remind everybody that these children have worked very hard for this day. I think that it is only fitting that we, as fans, demonstrate good sportsmanship and embrace the true spirit of high school athletics."

6.   Student reads: "Hello, my name is _____, and I am a student-athlete at __________ High School. On behalf of the student body, I would like to thank you for attending tonight's game. Please be reminded that none of the players on the (field), or the coaches or the officials are professionals. They are human beings who are trying to do their very best. Please respect their efforts by practicing good sportsmanship and embracing the true spirit of high school athletics."

7.  Community leader reads: "The fee paid to gain admission to this high school event does not entitle you to:

a.  berate officials;
b.  question the coach;
c.  make negative comments toward either team;
d.  display inappropriate behavior.

    
The playing field is an extension of the classroom. Please practice good sportsmanship."

E. PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH UNRULY SPECTATORS

1.  Timing is critical: get to problems quickly.

2.  Use halftime or post game. Tell a person, "I thought you were getting a little carried away today" and "Try to look at our sportsmanship expectations."

3.  When to go into the stands:

a.  For abuse or foul language.
b.  For throwing objects.
c.  For obstruction of view.
d.  When a spectator is ignoring the requests of others.
e.  When game management has been informed by the official that a spectator needs to settle down or be asked to leave.
f.  Use less crowded, less emotional lower level games as an educational opportunity to teach in the stands.

4.   Sit next to them and explain their options:

a.   Stop the behavior.
b.   Final step is being escorted out by security.

5.   At that stage, say: "I need to see you in the hallway for a few minutes." Talk with them out of the public eye.

6.   If that's unsuccessful, say: "I'm going to ask you to leave, and if you don't, we may be asking you not to return for the rest of the season."

F.  FOLLOW UP WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DIFFICULT

1.   Use a form letter for some situations.
2.   For others, meet individually with the person to talk about the situation, philosophy of program, etc.
3.   Talk to them in a non-threatening, positive way.
4.   Discuss other ways the spectator might have handled his/her disappointment or frustration.
5.   Have an established procedure involving the principal and/or superintendent for problems that are severe, chronic or unresolved after the initial letter and/or meeting.
6.   Write a newsletter article to explain philosophies, policies and procedures.


CASE STUDIES

The following case studies raise several issues regarding sportsmanship, ethics, and integrity. Read them aloud to your team or group (or pass out a copy and have them read the scenarios), then discuss the questions provided. These case studies can be shared with coaches, student-athletes, PTO's, officials, etc.

 

CASE STUDY 1

When Jamie Harrison was hired three years ago as the head basketball coach at North High School, she brought great expectations of winning a league championship. The last two years her teams have finished second. This year, she has four returning starters including Sharnell, the senior star forward averaging 28 points a game. The community thinks this will be the year. At the beginning of the season, Coach Harrison passed out a copy of the team rules and discussed them along with the associated penalties. Each player read and signed the list indicating her acceptance of the rules. One rule specifically prohibits drinking and calls for suspension from the team's next game. The week before the championship game, Sharnell was caught with a beer at a friend's party.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 2

Amy is having her best gymnastics season ever. At the last five meets, she has medaled on each apparatus, and the coach thinks she may have a chance for a top finish at the league championships. Lately though, she seems to be really tired after practice and to be losing a lot of weight. Amy says it's because of the extra hours she's putting in, but Robin, her best friend and closest competitor, thinks Amy is showing signs of anorexia. Amy confides in Robin that she is only eating one meal a day, usually fruit, but she just wanted to lose weight to be a better gymnast.  She asks Robin not to tell anyone about her eating habits, especially because the league championship is coming up soon.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 3

East High School is playing West High School in the last soccer game of the season. The winner of this game advances to the state tournament, and the losing team goes home. So the pressure is on and tensions are high. The official calls a penalty on East when Charles Price is offside. Charles is mad. He says the official has been making bad calls all afternoon, especially against East. So he approaches the official, gets in his face, and lets him know what he thinks of this call.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 4

Chris Warner is the coach of the volleyball team at Adams Junior High School. He has been a teacher for several years and this is his first year as a coach. Coach Warner believes that the purpose of junior high teams is to gain experience and have fun, so he rotates all the players into the game so everyone gets a chance to play. Some of the parents of the better athletes have called the athletic director to complain about Coach Warner's strategy. The athletic director talks to the coach the next day reminding him that one of the parents is on the school board.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 5

Suzie, the Hawks' outside hitter, pounds the volleyball over the net and it clearly falls outside the court.  However, with all the girls scrambling around the floor, the official cannot see whether the ball touched a player on its way out. If it did, Suzie's team scores a point. If not, it is a side out and the Lions get the ball. The Hawks are signaling a touch, but the Lions are showing their disagreement. The official calls Jackie to the net and asks her if the ball touched any of the Lion players. Jackie is a JV player for the Hawks who was the closest line judge to the ball.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 6

The Mallards ran on the field to the boos of the Wildcats home crowd. As the cross-town rivals were introduced, the home fans threw little yellow rubber ducks on the field to make fun of the team mascot.  Throughout the game, the Wildcat fans picked on the opposing players and yelled obscenities at the officials when the calls went against their team. At one point, Mr. Farley, father of one of the Mallard players, went over to Mr. Johnson, one of the loudest Wildcat fans, and told him to sit down and be quiet. Mr. Johnson took a swing at Mr. Farley and was finally pulled from the bleachers by the security officer. Mr. Johnson said he was just supporting his team and Mr. Farley had no business asking him to stop cheering for the Wildcats. Besides, everyone else was making as much noise as he was.

Discussion Questions

CASE STUDY 7

James Smith and Steve Hamilton have a long running rivalry. They competed against each other in high school and college and never really got along. Now they are both high school coaches and their football teams are conference rivals. Their teams have played twice before and split the games, so today's contest has great meaning to both men. It is a hard-fought competition with a close score up to the final play. Coach Hamilton's Bears pull it out in the end with a field goal in the closing seconds. Coach Hamilton joins the celebration on the sideline and runs to the locker room without leading his team to midfield for the traditional handshake.

Discussion Questions

OTHER CASE STUDY ACTIVITIES

Ask student-athletes to role play the scenarios outlined above. Then ask one of the players to facilitate the follow-up discussion.

Create scenarios relevant to your team or school.


GOOD SPORTS ARE WINNERS! CAMPAIGN

SELF-EVALUATION FOR COACHES/SPORTSMANSHIP

 

Name:

 

 

Date:

 

 Please complete the following evaluation and review your responses with the Athletic Director.

A. Please rate yourself in the following areas

 

 

needs improvement……….................excellent

1.

Encourage players to play within the rules

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Encourage players to respect officials

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

Encourage players to treat opposing teams with respect

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.

Encourage players to react properly to spectators

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.

Encourage players to handle winning and losing in an appropriate manner

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

Supervising players in a manner that helps to prevent sportsmanship problems

1

2

3

4

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.

Providing a proper example for the players concerning sportsmanship

1

2

3

4

5

B.   1.   The thing that I did this year that most promoted sportsmanship for our team was...

 

       2.   The area of sportsmanship that I could most improve in as a coach would be...

 

       3.   The biggest problem that we had this year with sportsmanship was...(include your opinion, was this preventable?)

 

       4.      COACH/ATHLETIC DIRECTOR COMMENTS...

 

 

 

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