A Profile of Gamesmanship Attitudes Among Youth Sport Coaches


  • Joe Deutsch North Dakota State University
  • Brad Strand North Dakota State University
  • Sean Brotherson North Dakota State University
  • Roman Waldera South Dakota State University




Youth Sport, Coaching, Youth Sport Coach Ethics


Youth in sport programs are not only gaining skills in sport techniques but also observing and learning ethical attitudes such as how to treat others in competition or whether to play in accordance with sport rules. Youth sport coaches influence youth directly through the provision of guidance and feedback and indirectly through the behaviors they model and attitudes they reflect. In the sport context, gamesmanship is any in-game misconducts that stay within the boundaries of the rules but still are ethically controversial and may lead to a competitive advantage. In this study, the gamesmanship beliefs of youth sport coaches across multiple sport disciplines were analyzed. The participants of this study were 109 youth sport coaches of a variety of sports. A 20-question gamesmanship beliefs survey was used in data collection for this study in which youth sport coaches were asked to determine their opinion of the identified conduct and respond with a rating on a 4-point Likert scale. Responses of youth sport coaches in this study suggest that only a small portion of them are inclined to instruct players to act in a way that utilizes gamesmanship practices. This study’s examination of whether formal coaching training or years of coaching experience influence attitudes toward gamesmanship found that there appeared to be little effect on coaches’ attitudes. As gamesmanship situations are typically present in the youth sport context, this study provides value in understanding how youth sport coaches think about gamesmanship and their awareness of ethical concerns.

Author Biographies

Joe Deutsch, North Dakota State University

Associate Professor, Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences


Brad Strand, North Dakota State University

Professor, Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences


Sean Brotherson, North Dakota State University

Professor, Department of Family Development and Family Science

Roman Waldera, South Dakota State University

School of Health and Consumer Sciences