(Note: This is a sample from the True Champions Practice Points.)
Part of the Pursuing Victory With Honor sportsmanship campaign, the True Champions Practice Points encourage student-athletes to learn from the lives of sports heroes and to develop the values of true champions — both on and off the field.
True Champions realize the importance of taking responsibility for their actions to ensure their own success and the success of their team.
“I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals.
I will not let my teammates down, and I will not let myself down.”
– Mia Hamm, U.S. women’s soccer star
1. Read the quote aloud to the student-athletes.
2. Brainstorm responsibilities that they must fulfill to make themselves and the team successful.
3. Have the student-athletes identify short- and long-term individual responsibilities.
4. Discuss support systems that can help them manage and fulfill their responsibilities.
Possible Answers to Questions
1. Suggested responsibilities for the student-athlete to fulfill: Maintain proper nutrition, hydration, and rest; attend practices and events on time; have a good attitude; meet all academic requirements including attending class, completing assignments, and maintaining a good GPA; perform well as team member to the best of your ability; and continually work to improve your personal best.
2. Short-term individual responsibilities:
• Get adequate sleep and allow sufficient time for your body to rest.
• Attend practice regularly.
• Address injuries.
• Study and maintain academic standards.
3. Long-term individual responsibilities:
• Understand your role as a team player and live up to it.
• Set goals for growth and development as a player and student and reflect on them regularly.
• Evaluate and monitor your effectiveness as a role model and leader.
• Develop plans and strategies to positively impact your community.
Possible Extension Questions
1. Ask the student-athletes to reflect on a time when someone they know didn’t fulfill his or her responsibilities. How did it make them feel?
2. Divide the group into pairs. Have each pair talk about a time when their partner fulfilled his or her responsibilities and how it positively affected the team.
3. Using the examples given in the previous discussions, develop goals and responsibilities for the team and strategies to help the student-athletes fulfill them and strengthen the success of the team.
4. Write the team responsibilities and goals on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard. Have every team member sign it and display it in a prominent place. Encourage the student-athletes to reflect on their responsibilities and to encourage each other when they exhibit responsible behavior. Relate the team’s successes to individual players’ behavior.This lesson is a sample from the True Champions Practice Points, which is available for secure online purchase here.
Standard 5. Understands the social and personal responsibility associated with participation in physical activity
Level IV Benchmark 7. Understands the concept of "sportsmanship" and the importance of responsible behavior while participating in physical activities.