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11 Ways to Show Good Sportsmanship


here’s no doubt about it, competition can get ugly. But, you don’t have to.

Staying positive and acting like a professional will increase the positive vibes you get from others whether you’re at a competition, sitting in a classroom or working in an office. Not only will being known as a “good sport” improve the attitudes around you, it will enhance your own experience. You’ll grow in confidence, improve your performance and your scores will reflect it.

Here’s a little challenge—try to do all 11 of the things on the list below at least once during your next competition:

  1. Anticipate what someone else needs before they ask, and then take care of it.
  2. Say what you want to see (even if it might not be happening yet) to bring up the entire group. For example, “Wow, I see some of you really giving your all in this rehearsal,” or “I can’t believe how high some of those jumps are going!” The power of suggestion really does get results.
  3. When someone offers criticism, thank them, apply the correction and move on.
  4. When someone decides to be nasty, reflect or pay forward the exact opposite. For instance, if you overhear someone insulting your team, find a time to go up and introduce yourself in a friendly way. If someone is rude when you ask a question, smile and remember that feeling when someone asks you a question. It’s not easy and sometimes means taking a risk, but the effect is usually astounding.
  5. When you make a mistake, fix it, learn from it or just do better next time. This is actually more meaningful than an apology.
  6. When someone else makes a mistake that simply has to be addressed, take the person aside, tell them what they’re doing well first, and then give your correction.
  7. In a moment you’d feel the urge to speak harshly, take a deep breath and communicate with kindness or humor instead. People will more likely respond how you want them to with this approach.
  8. Pay each company member or colleague a compliment at some point in the day.
  9. Give a direct compliment to someone from an opposing team. In fact, whenever you have the opportunity to compliment, congratulate, applaude or wish dancers from another company a good performance, do it.
  10. Make a fellow teammate or colleague look good.
  11. Say “please” when you ask someone for help, and “thank you” when they do it.