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Bullying & Hazing
Bullying & Hazing In Youth Sports

Bullying & Hazing In Youth Sports (4)

Anti-bullying1-300x284Bullyingcan hurts kids' confidence, success and enjoyment of sports. It can not only come from other players but coaches as well. What starts out as a joke can easily turn into a cruel taunt. While it’s nearly impossible to outline every potential circumstance that counts as bullying, it’s important that everyone knows that even the smallest action can have a huge negative impact on not just the child it’s being directed at but the parents, the team and entire youth sports community.

Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, teasing, name calling, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time. There are simple steps adults can take to stop bullying on the spot and keep kids safe: Get involved immediately, separate the kids, stay calm, be respectful and DON’T IGNORE IT!

Most people hesitate to speak out because it can be hard. It takes confidence to stand up to a bully, especially if he or she is one of the established team leaders. But chances are the other players witnessing the bullying behavior feel as uncomfortable as you do. They may just not be speaking up. Perhaps they feel that they're not popular enough to take a stand or worry that they're vulnerable and the bully will turn on them. Staying quiet (even though they don't like the bully's behavior) is a way to distance themselves from the person who is the target.

sports_bullying_1When a group of people keeps quiet like this, the bully's reach is extending beyond just one player. He or she is managing to intimidate lots of people on the team. But when one person speaks out against a bully, the reverse happens. It gives others license to add their support and take a stand, too.

The first strategy is to focus on the social environment of the team. In order to reduce bullying, it is important to change the social climate of the team and the social norms with regards to bullying.

This requires the efforts of everyone in the team environment—coaches, administrators, parents. Everyone has an opportunity to influence the environment of their team.
Some coaches tolerate bullying by older or more prominent athletes on the team. “Boys will be boys” is their attitude, and we should add that “girls will be girls” because hazing is common among girls, although less so than with boys. But even mild bullying may result in unseen but substantial harm to the victim.Bullying often leads to depression when a victim can’t see a way out, and depression can lead to suicide in extreme cases. As a coach of character you must have zero tolerance for any bullying on your team.You should also have no tolerance for hazing. After decades…
Listen to this interview by Dr. Pickhardt which explains why sports kids bully and what issues make bullying worse. Learn about the critical role of sports coaches in either preventing or exacerbating bullying in sports.
Kids’ Sports Psychology, a leading website designed to help sports parents, coaches and kids boost confidence, focus, and composure in young athletes, has launched a new program to help parents and young athletes cope with bullying in youth sports. One of the top “mental game” issues sports parents identify is bullying in youth sports, according to Patrick Cohn, a mental game expert and co-founder of Kids’ Sports Psychology. “This is one of the top challenges sports parents write us about,” says Cohn, who, along with his sister, Lisa Cohn, operates Kids’ Sports Psychology, which offers members articles, videos, audios, e-books,…
Monday, 06 February 2012 16:04

ABC 2011: Stop Bullying in Youth Sports

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Youth sports in 2011 is full of way too much anger, selfishness, win-at-all-costs attitude and poor sportsmanship on the part of players, coaches and parents. So says Andrew Zitoli, principal of Millis (Mass.) Middle School, who was on a mission Friday morning at the Athletic Business Conference in Orlando, Fla., to change the culture of youth sports by addressing bullying. Stopping bullying, he reasoned, would go a long way toward eliminating some of the other problems facing youth sports today."Remember the old saying, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me'? " Zitoli, who also…