Respect yourself and others will respect you.. — Confucius


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

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

Respect has two chief definitions:

1)  admiring (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
2)  having regard for someone’s feelings, wishes, or rights

These two go hand-in-hand, but more simply, respect means treating others how you would want to be treated. It also means practicing self-respect by being accountable for your own actions and attitudes.
In athletics, this can sometimes be a tough thing to do. But even in the heat of competition, it’s important to continue to show respect to opponents, coaches, teammates, and officials. Being respectful of everyone (including yourself) makes it more likely that others will respect you back in return.

TrueSport Talk

Watch this TrueSport talk with DeeDee Trotter or read the lesson aloud

Track and field Olympic gold medalist DeeDee Trotter remembers a time early in her career when she was distracted before a race. Instead of focusing on the event and mentally preparing herself, DeeDee was socializing with her friends. When she began to run just before the starting gun fired, she was penalized for a false start. She remembers feeling embarrassed, but blamed others—the starter, her teammates, her coach, and even her mother—for her mistake.

However, after some thought, DeeDee soon realized that this was disrespectful behavior and that she was avoiding acknowledging who was truly at fault: herself. Had she respected herself and the race by focusing on the task at hand instead of her friends, she would’ve been better prepared to run well.

From this experience, DeeDee learned to respect herself and others, a lesson that helped make her the Olympic champion she is today. In 11 years of competition, DeeDee is proud to say she has never false started in a race again since then. TrueSport athletes like DeeDee always stay treat themselves, others, and their craft with respect, even when it doesn’t seem easy.

TrueSport Talk Questions

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

2. Like DeeDee, have you ever learned a life lesson from a similar experience?

3. How can you practice being more respectful in sports this week?

Tips & Applications

What Respect Looks Like in Sports

In the context of sports, respect is paid in many different ways to many different people and things.

Coaches: Giving your undivided attention while coaches are speaking before, during, and after games and practices
Rules: Acknowledging the rules of your sport and playing by them
Officiating: Accepting the referee’s decision as final (and not arguing with them)
Teammates: Always being encouraging, even if they make a bad play or perform poorly
Opponents: Sincerely shaking the hands of your opponents after a game and telling them ‘good game’
Referees: Thanking the referee and shaking their hand after the game
Body: Getting proper rest, nutrition, warm-up tim

What Respect Looks Like in Life

Outside of sports, ways to show respect are a lot more versatile and can be shown to parents, friends, teachers, siblings, strangers, and anyone else:

Listening to others when they are speaking (and not talking over them)
Asking permission before touching someone else’s property
Making an effort to remember and use people’s names
Apologizing after making a mistake
Not harming the environment or others’ property
Giving credit to others when it’s due
Being sensitive to how what is said or done can affect someone else’s feelin

Downloads & Additional Resources:

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.

Chalk Talk (PDF)
15-minute activity: Get your athletes thinking and talking about respect with these guided discussions.

Activity – Respectful Role Plays (PDF)
Two, 15-20-minute activities. Have your athletes identify, act out, and discuss several different respect-related scenarios.

Activity Review Handout (PDF)
10 minute quiz. Test your athletes’ knowledge of what it means to be a respectful athlete and person. (answers included)

TrueSport Certificate (PDF)
Lesson Certificate Handout: Celebrate your groups’ completion of the lesson on Respect with this special certificate.

Parent Handout (PDF)
Handout: Learn what respect looks like in real life and teach your youth athletes the three principles of respect to set a solid foundation for your athletes’ future respectful decision-making.

Athlete Handout (PDF)
Handout: Have your athletes practice talking through problems respectively using “I” messages with this quick worksheet.

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