Why Yelling at Youth Sports Officials is BAD (For Your Kid).

The Problem

My child or their team has been wronged! The official made a mistake! How dare they! Aren’t they supposed to protect the kids???

We have all been there and will continue to be as long as human beings are responsible for officiating sporting events. It is part of life and one that our kids need to learn to deal with in order to become well-adjusted adults.  Match officials in all sports miss calls, it is the way of the world. How we teach our kids to deal with it is on US.  We also need to recognize that we have a very skewed vision of the way calls are going.  For example, you’re always an hour or two early for your kid’s game right?  So, you watch the end of the game before your kids play.  Do you yell at the officials in that game?  Of course not, it doesn’t matter to you.

The Opportunity

I know, it is hard to handle a missed call, no-call or other mistake by an official. It triggers anger from the caveman/cavewoman parts of our brains.  What I have come to learn by studying this stuff is that it is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to DEMONSTRATE to your kid that life is not always fair and they need to learn how to overcome adversity. Are they a victim who throws their hands up in the face of adversity or can they persevere in the face of hardship? Demonstrated by US often enough, their mindset changes to that of perseverance.

Let’s face it. Over the course of a season, officiating decisions (both for and against a team) even themselves out. It is just the nature of sports. Losing your head sends a dangerous message to the players and eliminates an opportunity for them to grow.

A few parting thoughts:

The sight of one’s parent yelling at the referee/umpire is absolutely humiliating for the player.  Most of us that played youth sports knew who had the crazy parents and were (at least on the teams I was on) not shy about mercilessly teasing those guys.

It seems reasonable to me that if we teach our kids that yelling at an authority figure is okay then we should not be surprised when they do the same to us!  Just sayin’

Reed Maltbie said

“If you know the rules better, grab a whistle and an official’s uniform and join the ranks. Many youth sports organizations lose over 50% of their new officials in the first year because the environment is awful.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little reflection and practice, you can see the officials for what they are.  An important part of your child’s youth sports experience and development.

Random Links

Offside Facebook Page -Brian Barlow is a high level soccer referee that post videos of parents acting like idiots.  Bring on the public shaming.  I’ve met him.  He’s a good guy.

TED Talk on the Power of GritVery interesting discussion on the incredible role grit plays in determining future success.

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