To be one, to be united, is a great thing.
But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater. — Bono


Tight on time? Stick with the 3 Key Takeaways and The Basics. These will provide your athletes with a solid foundation for understanding goal-setting.

Have more time? Share the TrueSport Talk and discuss how an Olympic athlete can relate to this lesson.

Extra time? Continue on through to Tips & Applications for more valuable information to share with your group.

Looking for more? Explore the Downloads & Additional Resources, which offer additional conversation starters and fun physical activities to support each lesson.

3 Key Takeaways

The Basics

What is bullying?

“Any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths…that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.” —The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Bullying can be either direct or indirect.

  • Direct bullying includes aggressive behaviors that occur in the presence of the target: name-calling, punching, humiliating, intimidating.
  • Indirect bullying behaviors occur when the target isn’t present: spreading rumors, cyber-bullying, destruction to property.

TrueSport Talk

Watch the TrueSport talk with Jessica Long about bullying or read the following aloud

Paralympic Swimming gold medalist Jessica Long discusses how bullying is common in sports, and that when it comes to bullying, you should trust your instincts. If you think somebody is being mistreated, then you are probably right; if you witness bullying, you should tell an adult. She adds that bullies like to pick on people who are different, such as herself. Jessica was born in Russia, where she was placed in an orphanage. When she was 13 months old, she was adopted by an American family. Besides being an orphan, Jessica was also born without the lower parts of her legs.

Jessica recalls a time when she was on a playground and another young girl saw her disability and started making fun of her. The girl commented that she didn’t want to “catch” what Jessica had. This hurt Jessica’s feelings, but she still grew up with a strong sense of self-confidence and the belief that everybody deserves to be treated with respect. Being a TrueSport means treating everybody with respect, having zero tolerance for bullying, and always speaking up if they see it occurring.

TrueSport Talk Questions

1. What was the main point you took away from the lesson?

2. Have you ever been in a situation like Jessica’s, where you were treated unfairly becuase you are different?

3. How can you help prevent bullying in sports and in school?

Tips & Applications

Forms of Bullying

Physical: Punching, kicking, fighting, shoving, damaging someone’s property.

Verbal: Name-calling, taunting, threatening, intimidating.

Relational: Teasing from a group, exclusion from a group, spreading rumors.

Cyber: Using technology and social media to embarrass, harass, or threaten.

Hazing: Requiring somebody to do a humiliating or dangerous activity to belong to a group.

If You Are Being Bullied...

Trust your instincts.

If you feel uncomfortable by the way somebody is treating you, either directly or indirectly, it is a legitimate problem. There is something that can be done; you have the right to be treated respectfully.

Talk to somebody.

Find somebody you can trust, preferably an adult—a parent, coach, or teacher—and keep talking about it until you find the support you need. The adult should not belittle your concerns and should take action.

Do not respond.

Bullies love getting a reaction, so do your best not to give them one. Instead, do not respond. Stay calm, ignore them, and/or walk away if possible. Project confidence by holding your head up and standing tall. One strategy to get your head somewhere else is to start counting backwards from 100 in your head. If you are being cyberbullied, do not engage online. But do not delete the evidence. Instead, keep the messages for authorities or police if they need to get involved.

If You Are A Bystander To Bullying...

A bystander is a person witnessing the bullying. If he or she stands and watches without intervening, she becomes part of the problem. Be part of the solution by:

Speaking up.

With confidence and authority, ask the bully to stop.

Not fighting.

Do not get involved physically or by otherwise antagonizing the bully. It can make the situation worse.

Telling somebody.

If you can’t calmly get the bully to leave the victim alone, walk away and get help from an adult like a parent, coach, or teacher.


There is strength in numbers; if you can’t do anything else, stand next to the victim and to support them.

Offering comfort.

If the bully leaves the scene, comfort the person that was being bullied.

Downloads & Additional Resources:

Bullying Prevention: Lesson Companion (PDF)
Printable version of the online lesson: Away from the computer or internet access? Print out and use this handout that’s identical to the online lesson.

Bullying Prevention: Chalk Talk (PDF)
15 minute activity: Reinforce the lesson with these discussion questions about bullying.

Bullying Prevention: Activity (PDF)
15 & 20 minute activities: Have your athletes put into action what they’ve learned about preventing bullying.

Bullying Prevention: Worksheet (PDF)
15-minute worksheet: Review your athletes’ knowledge of bullying fact versus myth in this simple worksheet.

Bullying Prevention: TrueSport Certificate (PDF) 
Handout: Lesson Certificate.

Bullying Prevention: Parent Handout (PDF)
Handout: Parent Recap

Bullying Prevention: Athlete Handout (PDF)
Handout: Athlete Recap

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