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Which region are 'worst sports'? Published: 07 April 2011

According to research from MCC and the Cricket Foundation school children in the north east and north west of England are the 'worst losers'.

The research, published earlier this week, surveyed over 1,000 children (aged 8-16) and more than 1,000 parents too.

Children were asked about their attitude and reactions to losing:

"Are you a bad loser when you lose a game of sport (for example: sulking, swearing, storming off, arguing with team-mates or the referee)?"

Children in England in general may have a thing or two to learn from their friends in Northern Ireland. Not one child in the Principality reacts badly to losing on the majority of occasions.

25% of children in Northern Ireland said they "never" react badly; the other 75% said they reacted poorly "not very often".

In the North East 6% of children said they reacted badly "most of the time" or "every time" they lost/were losing.

In the North West, 7% of children surveyed admitted to similar degrees of bad sportsmanship.

Compared to their peers 'down south' - just 4% of kids in London admitted to large amounts of sulking, swearing and storming off; compared to 2% in the South West and just 1% in the South East.

In defence of the north of England the second most 'sporting' region was Yorkshire - 94% of children surveyed there said they never or rarely reacted badly to defeat.
Snitching on team-mates?

For those assuming children surveyed were less than honest about their own behaviour a further question asked:

"How often do you see other children, either on your team or another team, acting like a bad loser when playing sport?"

The results were, broadly, similar.

Again, Northern Ireland came out on top with the most "Never" or "Hardly ever" responses.

However, it was another Principality, Wales, that gave the most "Lots of times" or "Once or twice a game" answers (45% in total).

Again, those surveyed in the North East and North West were seen to be less sporting. In the North East bad sportsmanship was seen by 38% of respondents; 36% in the North East.

Yorkshire wasn't exempt this time: 49% of those surveyed in the White Rose county said they saw other children and team-mates reacting badly to losing.
You make me wanna...

The survey also threw up some interested regional divides into the nature of children's bad reactions to defeat.

Asked to confess if they had done any of the following after a defeat:

    Sulkers: 20% of children in Scotland admitted to "sulking" - twice the national average
    Tears: 13% of children in Northern Ireland owned up to crying - more than twice the average
    Blame: 11% of kids in the East "got angry with their team-mates" - twice the average
    Angry Scots: Children in Scotland topped the pile on "shouting", "swearing" and "storming off" - more than twice the average in each category

Inspiration & examples

The survey also made it pretty clear where children expect to be given a lead on good sporting conduct.

Only 4% of children said they would copy bad behaviour from their favourite sports star.

Instead of the stars children look to teachers and parents for the best example. When asked "Who has the greatest responsibility for teaching you good sporting behaviour and to play sport in the right spirit?"

    40% of children said "PE Teacher"
    30% of children said "Parents"

Through the MCC and Chance to Shine programme, the Spirit of Cricket message is reaching out to 4,000 state schools around the country - carrying the 'Play Hard, Play Fair' message.

With resources such as former cricketer now sports psychologist Jeremy Snape's tips for fair play - MCC hope the good sportsmanship message can reach as many children, parents and teachers as possible.


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