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 Post subject: Youth sports question
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:21 pm 
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Emerald Circle
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For all you parents taking Madison and Brendan to Saturday youth sports, does your area have problems with coaches/spectators/parents/relatives getting out of hand when watching youth sports? Youth football, soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse, wrestling, etc.

My officials association had a situation last week get so bad early in a game that all officials walked off the field and refused to continue a game for 6-8 year olds. Only after ejecting several parents did the game continue. Our association delivered a letter to the organization stating that if it were to happen again that all games would be discontinued unless there was a police presence, which is not routine now. Most Saturdays there are 4-6 games in succession and hundreds of people watching.

There are several problems we see:
-Parents are right adjacent to the field unlike in high school games
-People watch TV games on Saturday and Sunday and think they understand rules. It is the RARE parent or even coach who has ever ever read a rule book or even attended one officiating clinic
-Parents don’t understand there are zero college or pro scouts at their kid’s youth games
-Youth leagues do not want to pay for police presence to perhaps keep a lid on things
-Parents want blood, kids want to have fun
-Like everywhere else there is a coarsening of manners and people scream things that would have been unheard of even a few years ago

We are told it’s just as bad at youth soccer matches. What’s worse in soccer is that there are a lot of teenaged officials unlike us old codgers in football which makes people feel they have freer reign to be abusive.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:18 pm 
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TUPF, this is nothing new. A lot of it stems from the youth sports shows on TV. IMHO, it all starts with the coaches and their intensity. At the ages you speak of, it is all about teaching the game. Too many of these youth coaches think they are the next Lombardi instead of teaching the kids the game and how to play it, they just want blood sport.

My suggestion would be for the league to sit the coaches down at the beginning of a season and tell them why the reason the league exists--for kids to learn the game, to learn a little discipline and have a little fun doing it. Additionally, tell the coaches that it is THEIR responsibility to reign in the parents, that there are codes of conduct that is expected from everybody. Bring in refs to speak who have experienced bad episodes. These episodes will not be tolerated and there will be a penalty for the bad behavior (everyone associated with the league will agree on). Either a fine, expulsion from future games, whatever the league decides.

The answer lies with the league, its coaches and officials. If things are getting out of hand, then the league must call a mandatory meeting to discuss what's going on and if they don't change, suspension of the season. If it's the coaches getting out of hand, suspend them. Tough times make for tough measures.

BTW, if the league won't do anything about it, then the officials have to decide to go forward with the season. At the end of the season, insist on new league leadership or have it disbanded.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:37 pm 
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Good stuff, Roto. Seems like you have some experience. :wink:

Unfortunately many if not all of those things have been tried or are in force. Right down to having every parent sign a Code of Conduct and having it posted at the game site.

I will say I got a smile out of something that happened at a youth game I did last year. One coach lost his mind over an ejection which was really simple—one of his kids kicked another kid which will get you tossed at any level. Coach got another 15 for unsportsmanlike conduct and eventually calmed down. Then the real drama started. Coach’s wife ripped him a new one right on the sidelines for being a bad example for his kids. After the game he made a very long and very public apology to his kids, to the officials and to the parents watching. Unfortunately this is the exception.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:50 pm 
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It starts at the top of the league. I reffed soccer starting in llike second grade and umpired for over a decade. Our league had a zero tolerance policy for nonsense from the coaches and parents and ejections were never questioned and complaints about the umpires were rejected out of hand. For the young kids (and younger umpires) there was always a commissioner or the chief umpire at the games. As I got older more autonomy and more donkey butt since it was more "competitive." I had a fast thumb after I talked to the coaches about their behavior or the parent of their players. Generally one nice talk, one last warning, and then see ya. Usually my initial comments were along the lines of "is this the example you want to set?; This is X year old baseball, come on man etc. I rarely had to toss people, although one year there was this absolute jag off and I pretty much had to do either plate or field for every game with another "older" ump because he was so bad and he didn't get a warning after the pregame discussion. He didn't coach the next year.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:53 pm 
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TUPF wrote:
Good stuff, Roto. Seems like you have some experience. :wink:

Unfortunately many if not all of those things have been tried or are in force. Right down to having every parent sign a Code of Conduct and having it posted at the game site.

I will say I got a smile out of something that happened at a youth game I did last year. One coach lost his mind over an ejection which was really simple—one of his kids kicked another kid which will get you tossed at any level. Coach got another 15 for unsportsmanlike conduct and eventually calmed down. Then the real drama started. Coach’s wife ripped him a new one right on the sidelines for being a bad example for his kids. After the game he made a very long and very public apology to his kids, to the officials and to the parents watching. Unfortunately this is the exception.


Then just start forfeiting the games. That will shut it down real quick. Also while threatening the forfeit remind them that strike an official is an enhanced felony.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:07 am 
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When my oldest (now 16), played T-ball in Slidell, one of our volunteer coaches that day (regular coach was out of town so this guy and I filled in), got into an argument with the other teams real coach. Our player was running to 3rd and got tagged out but shoved the kid tagging him to the ground. All the opposing coach wanted was the runner to say sorry to the other kid. Our father lost it. After the game I asked the opponent's coach what happened (was going to ask our parent as well) in case I got questioned about it. Our father them lost it again at me, threatening to beat me up in the parking lot because I had the audacity to go talk to the other coach.

So suggestion #1, ONLY let coaches coach and if they can't make a game re-schedule or forfeit. NO PARENT Substitutes.

Second incident and thankfully we only witnessed this (teams were on the field before us). Don't know what happened but one of the coaches or parents got so mad he went into the dugout got a bat and started chasing the other coach with it, swinging it several times and landing a glancing blow once. Both men were eventually banned from the park (for how long I can't remember). That was the end for us playing "organized" baseball in Slidell.

Second suggestion, have security at the games with ways for the umpires to immediately get in contact with them.

Up in Cincinnati the league we use here to run our basketball leagues has a rule. Absolutely NO talking to the refs, even if it is "great call" or "have a nice day". If the refs see fit they can instantly call the game and the game is forfeited. If it happens after the game they can force the forfeit of the next game(s)- yes plural, and even kick the team out of the league.

Third Suggestion, give the refs ULTIMATE power and let the coaches know this during their MANDATORY yearly training. This training (I haven't gone through but my friend has twice) is very serious and tells the coaches on how they need to behave and how to handle parents, with the focus being on the parents.


So really, if you can find a way to ban the parents, you will be fine.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:26 am 
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My kids both played baseball (well, t-ball for my five year old) last season in Terrytown and we were lucky enough not to see any problems. I think part of it may be that for the younger and intramural teams, the coaches are asked to also be officials, which gives them (and the parents) some extra insight for when the kids get older or make the travel team. There's also always a police presence, although I've never seen them have to intervene.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:15 am 
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Location: Philadelphia, PA & Berlin, MD
Our officials immediately walk off the field together at high school game end and head towards the police or troopers who are near the field entrance and then straight to our large SUV (we usually meet and come in one vehicle) and immediately leave. We stop at a gas station several miles away to change out of our uniforms. Never had a problem at the high school level, but just in case.

It’s the youth games that are the problem. In our area there are no police presence although there are probably off duty officers present (my neighbor is a sheriff and his kids play T-ball). So if you are involved in youth sports let your folks know that many places are one assault away from having their leagues go away.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:42 pm 
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this is my first season coaching my daughter's hockey team. I had to take a 6 hour online course on coaching her age level, learning what the American Development Model was for USA Hockey... which was 180 degrees different from how I learned to play... which actually points to one of the reasons I volunteered to coach. There are actually 2 reasons... one, my daughter is a goalie and was receiving no coaching on technique and fundamentals... I figured if I was on the ice, I could be in her ear to get her back on track. Second reason was as I stated.. I was watching practices and wondering "why aren't they teaching the kids to break out of the zone?" "why are they doing this?" "these practices are useless.. why are they doing that?"

Well, after my course, I saw the light and understood why they did what they did to change the way hockey is coached on the youth level. The higher ups at USA Hockey did scientific studies and learned that the more a kid touches the puck, the quicker he/she develops skills.. once skills are developed, then you work on hockey sense and positioning. I got it at that point. Anyway, my cunning plan got thwarted by them making me head coach... that has prevented me from working with my daughter on her technique.. I'm too busy with the entire team.. but I'm getting in a few minutes with her here and there.

OK, back to the topic of the thread... the ONLY person in the stands who was doing any yelling was the guy who became a coach... me. And my yelling was trying to coach my daughter from the stands. Never yelled at the refs.. never yelled at the coaches.. my yelling was trying to instruct her from afar. No other parents would make a peep other than "GO" or "YEAH!!!" We honestly don't have a problem with our youth hockey league.. I've seen the U12 and U18 games this year and there are no unruly parents.. and these folks are being served alcohol during the games! Perhaps THAT is the solution?? Since our rink has a tavern upstairs, a lot of the parents have a cold one and food in front of them as they watch... maybe they should allow beer in the ballparks and soccer fields.. I'm being tongue in cheek here.. but honestly, the parents are just fine in our program... but we are a house league.

Now, mind you, I don't know how the travel team parents are. They could be the ones who get out of hand in youth hockey in these parts.

But I think in general, hockey parents aren't as bad.. it helps they are behind glass and coaches and refs can't really hear them during the game.

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