When it comes to sport, it is only natural for one’s competitiveness to come out. Our nature is to strive to win and beat our competition. If we see an opponent bowl a strike, it makes us want to respond with a strike as well. While winning can be the end goal, it is important to recognize that it is NOT the only goal. Yes, at the end of the day the person and team with the highest score will win the game. But how you interact with teammates and competitors is just as important. This is called having good sportsmanship. The precise definition of sportsmanship is, “fair play, respect for opponents, and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Regardless of your athletic ability, everyone has the capability of having good sportsmanship. It may appear that being respectful, fair, and polite will only benefit others, but being a good sport will give you an advantage as well.
There are multiple ways in which having good sportsmanship will benefit you.
1) Your team will benefit
When you are encouraging and supporting your teammates, they will most likely perform better. Regardless of whether they are bowling the game of their life, or throwing gutter ball after gutter ball, showing consistent support is important. It is hard when you are not playing your best, and feel you are letting your team down. When you know that your teammates support you no matter what, it becomes much easier to stay positive. Therefore, make sure to show POSITIVE encouragement to your teammates because it will not only improve their game, but your team’s overall score.
2) Your individual bowling game will benefit
Keeping a positive attitude will improve your bowling game because you will be able to think more clearly. Without negative thoughts muddling your head, you should be able to assess situations better and figure out what you need to change. For example, if you miss an important frame and respond by kicking chairs or having a verbal outburst, you will be so overcome with negative energy that does not benefit you or your teammates. However, if you control your frustration and remain calm and polite, you will be better able focus on figuring out what went wrong and correct it for your next throw.
3) Your moral and mental stability will benefit.
Being a poor sport is exhausting!! It takes a lot of energy to be negative and grumpy. Being positive towards others will transform into increased moral for your self. Even if at times you have to force yourself to be a good sport, you will realize how much better it feels to be kind and positive.
Tips for Being a Good Sport:
Compliment others (both teammates and opponents)
Tell people when they have a nice throw or game
Be a “cheerleader”
Verbally encourage others when you are not participating
Learn from your mistakes
Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, ask, “What can I do better next time?”
Don’t dwell on a loss
Make sure to immediately congratulate your opponent and tell them “nice game”
Remember, bowling is just a sport, and the overall goal is to enjoy yourself