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What Does the Bible Say About Sportsmanship? {A March Madness Bible Lesson with Free Printables & Craft} #FCBlogger

A huge thanks to Family Christian for sponsoring today's craft. All thoughts are my own!

Basketball, basketball...everywhere you look, it's all about the basketball! That's right, March Madness is upon us! Now, I'm not a huge sports fan myself- but my son enjoys basketball, so I thought this would be a great time to remind him what good sportsmanship is all about! So,  I sought out to find what the Bible says about sportsmanship. I have found that kids learn much better when coming at them from something they enjoy, so using basketball to teach Bible lessons can be a great tool for the sports loving kid...or for any kid during the March Madness madness!

So, what does the Bible say about being a good sport? Let's take a look:

On Practicing & Being Fit.

We all know that practicing is of utmost importance if you want to improve any skill- sports or otherwise. The Bible agrees and reminds us that the work may be hard, but with that work comes great reawards. We are also encouraged to take care of our bodies.

Hebrews 12:11-13
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 

On Never Giving Up.

Even with all the practice in the world, sometimes we lose...sometimes we lose often. Sports are tough, especially when there are obstacles in our way. The Bible talks often about persevering. We are taught to keep faith, to keep moving forward and that with God we can accomplish anything.

Philippians 4:13 
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Colossians 3:23 
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

2 Timothy 4:7 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
On Playing By The Rules.

Throughout the Bible, we are called upon to do the right thing. We are told not to lie, not to steal...to act in a away that is pleasing to God. Naturally, this goes for sports as well. God wants us to do right in all things, and that means playing by the rules.

2 Timothy 2:5 
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

1 Peter 1:15 
But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct

James 4:17 
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Proverbs 10:9 
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

On Being Humble.

In my search on what the Bible said about good sportsmanship, the topic I found to be the most talked about was being humble. Time and time again the Bible urges us not to seek glory for ourselves, but to give all the Glory to God. We are told not to be conceited and think too highly of ourselves. We are told not to take joy in the falls of others. When it comes to sports, this means not being a sore loser, but rather being gracious in our wins...and our losses.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Proverbs 24:17-18
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

Proverbs 25:27 
It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.

Proverbs 27:2
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 11:2 
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

As you can see, the Bible has a lot to say about being a good sport. Playing by the rules, being humble, lifting others up...all are very important to God. And by being a good sport, we can all be a player for God's team! For an easy reference to look back on, feel free to print this free printable reference sheet

For my kid, I have found that just lecturing has never been a great way to let these things sink in, so I also created this printable worksheet using real life instances of good and bad sportsmanship. This is ideal lesson for your home or Sunday school class as well. You can find the free printables here and here!

I'm A Member of God's Team Paper Craft

But no good lesson is complete without a fun craft, so we also created our own lacing basketball craft! A great reminder to every child to remember to play on God's team! Here's how you can make your own:


  1. Cut out your Basketball! If you have a Silhouette, feel free to use it. Otherwise feel free to freehand it, or print an outline to help you out. You will need two circles- one for front and one for the back.
  2. On one circle, draw a basketball. On the other write 'I'm on God's Team' or use a favorite verse from above. (Alternately, you could print these as well.)

  3. Use your hole punch to punch holes around the edge of your basketball.
  4. Now it's time for your little one to take over. Have them take a piece of yarn and 'sew' the two pieces together. (Hint: to make lacing a bit easier for younger kids, take a piece of tape and wrap around the end...much like a shoelace! This will give them something a bit more solid to work with.)
  5. If you want to give your basketball a little more shape, feel free to stuff it with some crumpled newspaper or tissue papers. Do not add until a little over halfway through to make it easier to manage.
  6. Once you reach the end, tie it to finish it off! Leave it as is, or add ribbon for hanging!
If you're looking for a fun way to celebrate March Madness with your kids at home or in Sunday School...these worksheets and crafts are ideal!

Want more great gift ideas and lessons for the little athlete in your life. Check out my 'I'm On God's Team' shopping guide for more inspiration:

Sports Trivia Devotional // Basketball Bible // 1000 to 1 DVD // Game Day for the Glory of God //
Sports Wall Clock // Heart of an Athlete // Beyond Championships Teen Edition //

Devotions From The World of Sports // I Can Be a Good Sport 

These are just a few of many great products available at Family Christian for athletes of all ages. See more and connect at the links below:

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Do you love March Madness? How do you teach your little ones about sportsmanship? What are your favorite verses on the topic?


  1. Great post! I'm definitely going to share these verses with my boys :)

  2. What a great post!! I wish the athletes that are on TV would read this. They all need to learn some sportsmanship!! :)

  3. Such a great lessons for kids (and some adults too). I love the verses you picked and your printables are cute and something I would use in my classroom.

  4. I love that you have a printable for the older kids and a craft idea for the younger kids. Great post! Thank you for the hard work you put into it.

  5. This looks really neat and I'll have to do it with my son!

  6. Thanks so much! I'm using this with my 8 year old who just had an unfortunate unsportsmanlike experience during his soccer game yesterday. I'm feeling so ashamed and guilty like I'm a bad parent. I'm hoping he and I can grow closer as we work through what it looks like to be a good sport.


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