The Tennis Professional
Instill the values of positive sportsmanship in a player.
Good sportsmanship in a player means having the kind of character and conduct to react graciously during competition. It is important for a player to show good sportsmanship in both victory and defeat. This means sincerely congratulating an opponent when the opponent has won the match and not gloating or acting pompously toward an opponent when the player has won a match.
Not only does sportsmanship say a lot about a player on court, but it also speaks volumes for the character of that player off the court.
Sportsmanship is conformance to the rules, spirit, and etiquette of sport. More grandly, it may be considered the ethos or The Soul of sport. It is interesting that the motivation for sport is often an elusive element. Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake, with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors. Being a “good sport” involves being a “good winner” as well as being a “good loser”.
Often the pressures of competition, individual achievement, or introduction of technology can seem to work against enjoyment by participants. As a result, sportsmanship may be contrasted with gamesmanship.
Sportsmanship typically is regarded as a component of morality in sport, composed of three related and perhaps overlapping concepts: fair play, sportsmanship, and character. Fair play refers to all participants having an equitable chance to pursue victory and acting toward others in an honest, straightforward, and a firm and dignified manner even when others do not play fairly. It includes respect for others including team members, opponents, and officials. Character refers to dispositions, values and habits that determine the way that person normally responds to desires, fears, challenges, opportunities, failures and successes and is typically seen in polite behaviors toward others such as helping an opponent up or shaking hands after a match. An individual is believed to have a “good character” when those dispositions and habits reflect core ethical values.
In general, sportsmanship refers to virtues such as fairness, self-control, courage and persistence and has been associated with interpersonal concepts of treating others and being treated fairly, maintaining self-control in dealing with others, and respect for both authority and opponents
Gamesmanship is the use of dubious (although not technically illegal) methods to win a game, such as golf or snooker. “Pushing the rules to the limit without getting caught, using whatever dubious methods possible to achieve the desired end.” (Lumpkin, Stoll and Beller, 1994:92). As opposed to sportsmanship, it may be inferred that the term derives from playing for the game (to win at any cost) as opposed to playing for sport.
Sportsmanship, the mental component of tennis, is part of the learning process in the competitive environment. Someone that does not care if they win or lose is not going to have sportsmanship issues. The game of tennis is different from other sports and is based on integrity. Most times you will play a match with no umpire or referee. The game of tennis is built on the assumption of honesty. It is one of the real assets that tennis has. Its the core and tradition of the game. You are thrust into an environment where integrity is demanding. to challenge someones integrity in a demeaning way is not good on a tennis court and not good in life. this is one place the lessons we learn through sport are valuable lessons on how a person should behave in society. Sportsmanship can be demonstrated on your part by making good quick calls and on your part when your opponent is not making good calls.
Sportsmanship is one of the most important dynamics and values that tennis has to offer. Players that understand sportsmanship, carry themselves differently and have a whole different perspective. You can tell! It always make you proud to see good sportsmanship.
experienced Tennis Professional in Southern California.
Ex-ATP touring professional, Brett Buffington, now a private professional tennis coach based in “The Jewel” of San Diego, La Jolla, California. Nicknamed “Coach Buff” or Mr. TennisBuff, he is all about trust, respect, love and of course Best Effort…