Many coaches object to the call for sportsmanship because they see it as outmoded. Kids are different today, so you can’t coach them the same way that we were coached when we were kids. Other successful coaches let their players trash-talk or vent their emotions, so why shouldn’t I? Why can’t coaches let players be themselves?
By reminding you of an alternative view to a win-at-all-costs mentality, Sport and Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship will inspire you to renew your focus on incorporating lessons of sportsmanship in your coaching—bringing honor to the game, the team, and the individual.
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In an era when our nightly news is filled with reports of athletes run amok on the field, on the court, and on the street, and when cheating by players and coaches has become a part of the daily discourse, sportsmanship has never been a more timely topic.
According to a national survey of high school athletes conducted by the Josephson Institute,
• 40% of boys surveyed and 25% of girls surveyed see nothing wrong with using a stolen playbook sent by an anonymous supporter before a big game;
• 54% of male football players, 49% of male basketball players, and 18% of females in all sports approve of trash talking; and
• 34% of boys surveyed and 12% of girls surveyed approve of a coach trying to pump up the team by swearing at officials to get ejected from the game.
These statistics illustrate the importance of clarifying the boundaries of healthy competition and modeling the principles of fair play. Sport and Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship can help those involved in sport tackle the important lessons of sportsmanship by encouraging them to practice and teach respect for opponents, coaches, officials, teammates, and the game.
Using examples from common situations that occur on and off the field, Sport and Character brings to life what is required in order to be a good sport. Special “News Breaks” incorporated throughout the text present practical examples of sportsmanship drawn from current sport news, including articles about Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson, Jimmy Rollins, and Nastia Liukin. Inspirational quotes by Phil Jackson, John Wooden, and Mickey Mantle add vitality to this tool for building good athletes and in turn good citizens.
Sport and Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship is endorsed by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP). Established by world-renowned sport psychologist Rainer Martens, ASEP has trained more than 1.5 million coaches since its inception in 1981.
Part I Thinking About Sportsmanship Chapter 1 Reflecting on Your Own Experience Chapter 2 Sportsmanship and the Nature of Sport
Part II The Principles of Sportsmanship Chapter 3 Respect for Opponents Chapter 4 Respect for Teammates and Team Chapter 5 Respect for Officials Chapter 6 Respect for the Game Chapter 7 Respect Between Players and Coach
Part III Thinking About Sport and Life Chapter 8 Sport, Society, and Education Chapter 9 Beyond Sport
A reference for coaches of youth, high school, and college athletes. Also a supplemental book for students studying sport ethics, current issues in sport, and sport management.
The book will resonate with school administrators, parents, sport administrators, college presidents, Olympic officials, sport officials, and anyone who cares about sport and its relation to character and culture.
Craig Cliffordis professor of philosophy and director of the honors programs at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas.
Clifford received a PhD in philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. He has an extensive background in teaching ethics and philosophy of sport, both at the undergraduate and graduate level.
A frequent guest columnist for several major newspapers, Clifford has frequently written on the subject of sportsmanship and the American sports culture. He is also the author of Learned Ignorance in the Medicine Bow Mountains: A Reflection on Intellectual Prejudice (Rodopi, 2008), The Tenure of Phil Wisdom: Dialogues (University Press of America, 1995), and In the Deep Heart’s Core: Reflections on Life, Letters, and Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 1985).
From 1988 to 1992 Clifford coached the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Tarleton State University. He has competed in a number of sports. Taking up the sport of Olympic-style target archery in his mid-40s, he won the state outdoor archery championship in 1997 and finished the 1999 season ranked 26th in the nation.
Randolph Feezell is professor of philosophy at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Feezell received a PhD in philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1977. He is an award-winning teacher at Creighton University; his classroom and research interests include ethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of sport. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport.
Feezell is the author of Sport, Play, and Ethical Reflection (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and Faith, Freedom, and Value: Introductory Philosophical Dialogues (Westview Press, 1989). He is the coauthor, with Curtis Hancock, of How Should I Live? Philosophical Conversations About Moral Life (Paragon House, 1991). He has also published numerous articles and reviews.
Feezell played baseball at the University of Oklahoma. He has coached baseball at virtually all levels, including over 10 years as a college assistant and hitting coach. He has played semiprofessional baseball, AAU basketball, and tournament tennis.
“Randolph Feezell is, as I see things, quite simply the most engaging writer in philosophy of sport. His contributions to virtue ethics, especially regarding the virtue of sportsmanship, should be read by everyone who is interested in the moral character of contemporary athletes, coaches, and fans.”
Daniel A. Dombrowski
Professor of Philosophy
“Sport and Character addresses the key reason athletic competition is relevant and important—the development of sound character through competitive sports. This book provides a good look at the reasons for our national decline in sportsmanship and ways we can restore time-honored principles dedicated to character development through athletics.”