How to Handle Violence in Youth Sports

1498 Words 6 Pages
Everyone agrees that parent involvement is a good thing. But when the parent behaves inappropriately, it creates a poor environment for the children to learn and enjoy themselves. "Sideline rage" with parents behaving badly at youth sports events is such an epidemic, that 76% of respondents from 60 high school athletic associations said increased spectator interference is causing many officials to quit (Associated Press, 6/3/01). Parents are supposed to be role models, and the lessons they teach will determine their values and actions in the future. These days violence in children's sports is not limited to the playing field; overbearing parents are creating dangerous situations on the field.
Involving your child in sports is important
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At age ten, many kids have private coaching and attend specialized clinics in the off season. The coach is usually someone with a background in sports, either a retired professional player or coach. Practices are now scheduled for twice a week and attending a weekly clinic is strongly recommended, with a strength conditioning workout schedule between practices. All of these changes mean more involvement time for the parents. Parents are now spending up ten hours a week watching their children compete with other children, and this pressure can sometimes be too much for the parent.
In 2002, Thomas Junta was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after he attacked Michael Costin, who later died of his injuries. Mr. Costin was refereeing a pickup game of hockey. The fight was witnessed by a dozen children including the children of both Mr. Junta and Mr. Costin (Butterfield, 2002). While this is by far one of the worst incidents in sports rage, there are other types of behavior that can still harm our youth. Physical violence is often a rare occurrence; verbal abuse and intimidation have been seen frequently. When a parents scream at their child after practice that he/she did not run fast enough or hit hard enough, can be considered a form of verbal abuse. Also consider when a parent of one child screams at the team for not performing well and not winning the game, this combined with swearing can reduce a child to tears. Daniel Wann, PhD states that if a
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