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Sports A Prelude to Bullying?

Posted by Sandra On September - 8 - 2012

School Sports ~ A Prelude to Bullying?

I know it costs money to run any sports program. What I don’t understand is why all kids do not get to play? Aren’t coaches supposed to be fair? Aren’t they supposed to reward hard work, discipline and coach-ability. When you do all the extras, work on your weaknesses and never cut corners isn’t that supposed to count for something? Shouldn’t your playing time and whether you earn a starting position come down to how hard you work and your ability?

Different kids have different strengths and abilities. Coaches should find those strengths and let all kids play on the team –fairly– for a whole team to succeed. If the coaches won’t play all kids, then why aren’t the parents and kids being told before they sign up? Or, better yet, only recruit the number of team players you actually need. If coaches want to single out kids to play –or made to sit on the bench– then why only recruit the ones you want? They all work hard, they all show up to practice, but they don’t all get to play. That is rude and disrespectful.

If coaches are not willing to support all the kids, perhaps the principal should look at bringing in coaches and an athletic director who will give an equal opportunity to all kids no matter who their parents are, where they are from, or how much they pay the booster club.

You show up for practice, work and train, perform well and then when it comes down to game time, you find yourself sitting on the bench. This almost seems like a form of bullying. To “isolate” these kids and make them sit on the sidelines, watching the other team members play, and made to feel like they’re not “good enough” is unfair and sends an extremely bad message to these kids. Especially when these kids are repeatedly told, “I don’t have to play you at all?!” Really?…

What are these kids suppose to do if the coach is still not playing them even after they work hard at every practice, consistently trying to improve their skills, and follow all the team rules while others break them left and right, or even after they perform magnificently the minute or two they manage to get in during “garbage time” at the very end of the game? In my opinion, at this point they would have every justification in the world to conclude, “WHAT’S THE POINT?” and then stop trying.

As a parent, we have two options to tell our child in this situation: Get more motivated or de-motivated. Emphasizing that they can embrace the challenge of limited playing time by re-dedicating themself to getting faster, stronger and better. In order to do this they must be able to “keep the bigger picture in mind.” The bigger picture is them and the sport in the long run, NOT just this particular season. But, when a child’s self-esteem and confidence has been crushed, giving them this little pep talk probably won’t make much of an impact.

And then to have a select few who are never ONCE pulled from the game only shows favortism. These are sports TEAMS and teamwork should be emphasized and be the primary focus. Coaches are suppose to be professional and, as an adult, shouldn’t they try to instill fairness and good sportsmanship above winning and competition? Maybe if coaches allowed each team player to play the game, alternating fairly, the other things would take care of themselves.

Emphasizing a team atmosphere is crucial to developing a lasting sports program; and even more crucial to helping these kids develop confidence and a positive self-image. Coaches should communicate to each player how important their role is on the team, whatever that role may be. Coaches should reward reliability, loyalty, trustworthiness, the ability to be a team player, and their willingness to give it their all in the normal course of a sports season.

Getting too concerned with things such as who is scoring the points, who is getting the publicity, post-season awards, and/or even college scholarships can make a player forget why they love athletics ~ or possibly even want to quit sports all together.

Maybe we should hire coaches who can look at skill and potential without bias. How can kids succeed when they have adult leaders who are unwilling to teach, give them a chance, and don’t believe in team effort? If we had a teacher in the classroom exclude students, they would be fired. Is it more important to have a winning team than to teach kids to love the sport? This type of behavior is discouraging kids and killing their self-confidence. Coaches who play favorites, or place winning over development and having fun (especially when we are dealing with school sports programs) should not be allowed to coach.

Our school systems today are suppose to instill fair values, good character, and good citizenship. We teach it in our school. We expect it from our kids. Why can’t we expect it of the coaches, athletic directors, or even the teachers and staff, etc.? Would it be so hard to give every kid an equal opportunity to succeed?

By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself--Learn the Facts--It may Just Save a Child's Life!!

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