Coaching for Character: Reclaiming the Principles of Sportsmanship

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Human Kinetics, 1997 - Sports & Recreation - 113 pages
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Coaching for Character provides coaches with a valuable tool to help them understand the basic principles of sportsmanship, the justification of these principles, and how to teach their players to understand and apply them. By applying the understanding of sportsmanship explained in the book, coaches will create more disciplined and coachable individual athletes and teams. And, more important, they will help young athletes develop the character and perspective that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Combining years of coaching and teaching experience, Clifford and Feezell provide clear guidelines to help coaches teach their players respect for

- opponents,
- teammates and team,
- officials,
- coaches, and
- the rules and traditions of the game.

With proper respect, athletes are more likely to compete fairly and fully, to sacrifice in order to achieve individual and team goals, and to develop attitudes that make them enjoyable to coach.

Coaches' responsibilities as models and educators are brought to life through real situations that confront them on and off the field. The authors provide numerous questions that help readers to become more reflective about sport. The book also urges coaches and athletes to strive for a healthy balance between the playful side of sport and the seriousness of competition.

By using Coaching for Character's special suggestions for teaching sportsmanship, coaches will find new ways to reach their athletes--without preaching or sacrificing practice time that could be spent on developing the physical skills, conditioning, and mental strategies that are also essential to athletic success.

Clifford and Feezell demonstrate that sportsmanship doesn't get in the way of genuine competition--that a commitment to sportmanship comes from an understanding of the nature of competition.

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User Review  - kimgroome - LibraryThing

A great book. I am a big fan of sportsmanship, and this book talks about sportsmanship in relation to the nature of sport, the Principles of sportsmanship = respect for opponents, teammates & team ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)


Craig Clifford is assistant professor of philosophy at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He also is director of the honors program at Tarleton State.

Clifford received a PhD in philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. He has an extensive background teaching ethics and philosophy of sport, both at the undergraduate and graduate level.

A frequent author on the subject of sportsmanship, Clifford has published more than one hundred guest columns in major newspapers. He is also the author of The Tenure of Phil Wisdom: Dialogues (University Press of America, 1995) and In the Deep Heart's Core: Reflections on Life, Letters, and Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 1985).

From 1988 to 1992, Clifford was the head varsity men's and women's tennis coach at Tarleton. During that time, Tarleton qualified three times for the NAIA national tournament.

Recently, Clifford has taken up the sport of Olympic-style target archery. In 1996, his second year of competition, he finished the year ranked third in the state of Texas. He is an active member of the Texas State Archery Association and the National Archery Association.


Randolph M. Feezell is professor of philosophy at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Feezell played college baseball at the University of Oklahoma. He has coached baseball at all levels, from Little League to American Legion to college, including experience as an assistant coach at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska.

The author of numerous articles on the philosophy of sport and ethics, Feezell is the coauthor, with Curtis Hancock, of How Should I Live? Philosophical Conversations About Moral Life (Paragon House, 1991). He also is the author of Faith, Freedom, and Value: Introductory Philosophical Dialogues (Westview Press, 1989).

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