Good sportsmanship is, by far, the most IMPORTANT element of competition in any aspect of life. A competitive edge is great too, because everyone wants to win, but the desire to win should not come at a cost of making competitors dislike one another because they fall victim to rude remarks or hurtful gestures. Cheerleaders should be particularly great at providing support and encouragement, because after all, that IS our main job when we are on the field or the court instead of on the competition floor!
Not only does having great sportsmanship positively affect everyone involved, many competition producers actually REWARD teams for having great sportsmanship with a Superior Sportsmanship award! By awarding sportsmanship trophies, plaques, and banners to display, we hope that you are reminded every time you step foot in your cheer gym or facility that you have proven ability to positively encourage others through your attitude and actions, and that you continue to do so at every possibility.
Here are a few tips to ensure that you are portraying sportsmanlike conduct at all competitions:
– Smile, make eye contact, and acknowledge others in passing- There are hundreds of opportunities at every competition to make someone smile just in passing. Smile, make eye contact, and say “Hi!” or “Good Luck today!” Simple acknowledgement will make people remember you and the uniform you’re wearing.
– Compliment someone from another team on their choice at a vendor or retail booth- “Wow, I really like that bow you picked out!” is so easy to say to someone standing next to you while you’re both looking at things to buy. It will make her feel good, and she will think of you (and the team you’re associated with) in a positive light!
– Clap for your competitors when they get on and off the mat, or when their team is announced at awards- You may not WANT to because they’re your competition, but it doesn’t take much effort, and it won’t change the outcome of the scores, so be courteous and applaud your competitors before and after they put their heart and soul out there on the mat. You’d appreciate it if they did it for you too!
– Hold the door for someone and smile while doing it- It’s that simple…people just want to be acknowledged that they’re there. Holding the door for someone is a VERY easy, nice gesture.
– Say Good Luck!- Every cheerleader getting ready to compete has the same jitters in the warm-up room, so make sure you’re smiling and saying good luck to everyone! It’ll make you all feel a little more at ease!
– AVOID speaking negatively about other teams or other teams’ skills- Putting others’ skills or appearance down does not make yours any better, so don’t verbally bash others- ESPECIALLY in public where many others can hear you. They are doing their best, and so are you, and whoever scores better is the winner- so negative energy is a waste!
– AVOID public temper tantrums that may occur as a result of a perceived unfair score or placement- the judges scored fairly as they saw it, and your coaches receive feedback and recommendations for things to work on so you can be in that top spot next competition!
Thanks for being such GREAT sports, and continue to stay positive. After all, that’s our JOBS as cheerleaders!!