Tips for Teaching Good Sportsmanship

by Rachel Wells


Good sportsmanship reduces drama, creates a fun environment, and helps children learn respect and self-control.

Being a good sport means being able to win without bragging, respecting your opponents, and losing gracefully. Playing chess is an excellent way to learn and practice this critical life skill. Learning to be a good sport will also help your child manage other aspects of their lives, while developing into respectful and successful young adults.

With these tips and a little practice, your child can become the definition of good sportsmanship.


Win Without Bragging

It no doubt feels good to win. However in every game someone has to win, and someone has to lose, and it’s important to learn how to win without making your opponent feel bad. Your reaction can make all the difference.


Your child can show good sportsmanship when they win by:

  •          Telling your opponent “good game!” whether you’ve won or lost.
  •          Don’t show off – just play your best! People will notice not only your skill, but your great attitude.
  •          Playing fair and by the rules.
  •          Not bragging when you win, or criticizing your opponent when they lose.


Respecting Your Opponents

Showing respect is another key component in becoming a good sport.


Your child can show good sportsmanship and respect by:

  •          Being polite to everyone they’re playing with.
  •          Only saying nice things. If you don’t have something nice to stay, it should stay inside your head.
  •          Telling your opponent “good game!” whether you’ve won or lost.


Lose Gracefully

Some kids have a harder time losing than others. It’s a skill that everyone needs to learn how to do properly, and it often takes practice to put into action. 


Your child can show good sportsmanship when they lose by:

  •          Understanding that it’s okay to be upset. If you feel like crying or want to complain you can, but it needs to be done after the game and after they have had a chance to cool down.
  •          Telling your opponent “good game!” no matter if you’ve won or lost. (yes, we know this one is in here three times – but it’s a really, really important one.)
  •          Not making up excuses for why they lost.
  •          Learning from loses, and trying again next time. It’s easy to get so caught up on winning that we forget to realize how much we can learn from losing. Talk about your loss after your game – What went well? What went wrong? What can I do differently next time?


Good sportsmanship can be a make or break – so it really is important to teach and guide your child to help them develop these skills. An environment with few sportsmanship issues can help your child focus more on the right (and most fun!) aspects of the game.