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News Detail


Sep, 2015

Parent code of conduct

Recent Headlines in Youth Sports:

- "Dad receives six-month jail sentence for attacking coach at practice..."

- "Man storms field, attacks 9-year-old during youth soccer game..."

- "Volunteer soccer linesman beaten to death by player..."

- "Father punches another father in head during youth football practice..."

- "Youth soccer player fractured a goalie's cheekbone with a kick to the face at the end of a soccer game..."

(From the 2013 Spring issue of Sportingkid, Out of Bounds Feature, pages 4&5.)

I hope these headlines sound as ridiculous to you as they do to me.  Somewhere along the way, we have lost our minds when it comes to our conduct at youth sporting events.  As a coach, I have witnessed some embarrassing behavior from parents aimed toward their children, referees, and myself.  What do kids have to say about the issue?

In an August 2001 article from Sports Illustrated for Kids, Kids Speak Out:  Violence in Youth Sports there is some startling feedback from children.  Of over 3,000 children surveyed, it was found that:

- 74% have seen out-of-control adults at their games.
- 37% said they have witnessed parents yelling at kids.
- 36% cited embarrassment as the main emotion they felt while witnessing bad adult behavior.
- 4% said they have seen violent behaviors by adults.

We have to do better than these statistics suggest.  I too have been guilty of getting on a referees case maybe a little too much when I took offense to something they have said.  We have to remember that while this is competition, it is still just a game for the kids to have fun and learn some life lessons.  As a coach I have had a parent come out on the practice field after me.  I have had a parent that went on Facebook and trashed my then 8 year old son just because they were upset with me.  What are we teaching our kids when we act out and embarrass them?

I read a pamphlet at the recent Wildfire Men's Conference in Greenville, SC that asked the following question:  

What Can I Do As A Parent To Ensure My Child Has A Positive Outcome In Youth Sports?

1. Be a positive source of motivation for our children.
2. Control our emotions
3. Don't live our past sports dreams through our children.
4. Treat all involved with RESPECT!
5. Cheer for our team, but also acknowledge when the opponent plays hard and makes good plays.  Do not criticize.
6. Use the playing field as a classroom.
7. Be a positive role model at all times.  
8. Keep an eye on our child's Smile Factor.
9. Don't talk down to the kids, Lift them up!
10. Remember, it is just a GAME!!!

Let's move forward and have positive experience with our kids and not make it a bad memory for them.  Our bad behavior causes them to quit sports prematurely and gives them bad self esteem.  Our goal should be to lift them up and teach them life lessons.

It's their time, not ours.  Ya'll think about it, this is just my two cents.

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