Good Sportsmanship is a lost art in some of the professional leagues, and occasionally rubs off on the minor league and recreational league players because they look up to these guys. If it were a perfect world people would be courteous and respectful through all aspects of a game, the problem is, this isn’t a perfect world, and that never happens. The key to becoming a better player in attitude is very simple, remembering that your opponent is the same as you on the court, as they are off the court. You are both there to play the game, and win or lose; you are both still there because you enjoy the game.
You never know who off the court is watching you and can assume a lot about a few of your actions. If you are acting like a sore loser or just being plain ignorant, your whole team may get painted with the same brush, and that is just unfair.
Something as simple as striking up conversations on and off the court between plays with opposing players, and even with your own teammates can go a long way in enhancing your image and that of your team. If you sulk in a corner, and disappear after losses immediately, you will look like a sore loser, and people will get on your case about it, no matter what level of skill or league you play at. You will need to realize that as much as the game is solely on the court, it is also a game of diplomacy. While winning is great, everyone that plays is a person in the end, and no matter if you win or lose, you need to treat your teammates and opponents as you would treat your friends, with dignity and respect. Winning while is great, is no reason to ever rub it in your opponents face, even if they deserve it for one reason or another.
Your actions directly or indirectly will ALWAYS affect your team, and will always affect the image of your team. If you are gracious in winning and losing, and are a great person on and off the court, and really go that extra mile with your opponent to ensure that you gave it your all but you leave the emotions on the court, you will be rewarded in ways that no money could ever touch. You will become respected, and your team will become respected. Winning teams, while they may win games, conferences, and championships, will not win over the crowd. While crowds may not seem important to some people, it is in fact a crucial aspect of a game. No matter what ranking in a league you are, and no matter the skill level of that league, the crowd can make your day easy, or can make it a living hell.
Practicing good sportsmanlike tendencies on and off the court is easy so long as you don’t let the emotions rule you, but you make sure that you are in control of your emotions!