The main reason that kids sign up for sports is because they want to have fun. While Parents want their kids to develop their skills, improve team work and ultimately improve their fitness, your child’s willingness to participate will be determined by how much fun they’re having.
However, nothing is more upsetting than discovering that your child’s sporting activities are being eclipsed by bullying. Unfortunately bullying in youth sports still occurs and may take a variety of forms which may include:
- Team members targeting less skilled players who do not perform as well
- Intimidating new team members as part of ritual to induct them into a new team.
- Coaches abusing or yelling at team members for mistakes
- Jealousy due to other team members with high skills or performance levels
- Body shaming and put downs that occur in change rooms.
- Over encouraging parents who expect too much from their child’s performance.
The experience can have a significant affect both emotionally and mentally while seriously affecting a child’s well-being. For instance, your child may:
- Lose confidence and start performing poorly
- Develop mental or emotional issues
- Lose interest in sports and physical exercise
- Become excluded and lose friendships
- Develop body image issues.
So how do we prevent bullying? We’ve put together some tips for parents, coaches and clubs that can help.
1. Teach kids how to communicate effectively
Winning is a great feeling and more often than not, winning comes from effective team communication on the field. Teaching kids to communicate effectively, with training drills, can help improve team cohesion, develop friendships and teach kids that on field success starts with how they treat each other.
As part of regular training, coaches should train their team to identify bullying and negative player actions that can have an adverse effect on other players and team performance.
Drills you can try:
- Have players call each other’s name before passing
- Have team mates compliment strong on field play such as saying “great pass” or “top shot”
- Use words that help teammates have more awareness like “got time”, “man on” & “take a shot”.