Having coached youth and men’s soccer for a number of years, I’ve encountered many diverse challenges in many forms, yet the most challenging of all are soccer parents. According to Clark, 2008; Kremer–Sadlik & Kim, 2007 within any given sport parent(s) have been highlighted as one of the major influences in a child’s level of enjoyment and participation within a particular sport. Taking such powerful statements into consideration, why is that we hear such negative stories of abuse (Verbal & Physical) towards players and coaches? In a study conducted in Indianapolis, USA called Ugly Parent Syndrome in 2001, 53% of soccer parents admit to witnessing verbal abuse during a game. Such statements and statistics are overwhelming, which serves the reason towards why I feel the need to construct such blogs (hopefully a book in the future) 1) highlight the problem and harm of abusive parents on players and coaches with clear examples 2) Educate the parents on how they should conduct themselves on the sideline 3) how positive behavior on the sideline can aid a child’s performance(s), 4) share experiences with coaches within the sporting environment
In no means, am I generalizing soccer parents. I’ve encountered and witnessed many positive soccer parents that observe the beautiful game at different ages and levels. However, it only takes one negative parent to highlight the issue and its detrimental effect on the player and the whole team.
The Sporting Influencer
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Clark, W. (2008). Kids’ sports. Canadian Social Trends, Summer(85), 54-61. Retrieved from:http://dsp–psd.pwgsc.gc.ca/Collection-R/Statcan/11-008-XIE/11-008- XIE.html
Kidman, L., McKenzie, A., & McKenzie, B. (1999). The nature and target of parents’ comments during youth sport competitions. Journal of Sport Behavior, 22, 54- 68. Retrieved from:http://www.southalabama.edu/psychology/journal.html
Kremer–Sadlik, T., & Kim, J. L. (2007). Lessons from sports: children’s socialization to values through family interaction during sports activities. Discourse and Society, 18, 35-52. doi:10.1177/0957926507069456
Ugly Parent Syndrome. (2002). The AusSport Post.
Retrieved from: http://www.aussport.com.au