Stop kids bullying during training sessions
Kids bullying is like a plaque that has swept around the globe over and over. Very few institutions, clubs, association etc could say they have never had some form of bullying.
Kids bullying will develop anywhere if teachers, parents, sports coaches and the children themselves don’t make a stance to stamp it out.
In kids sport, it’s the overweight, unskilled, unfit players who will be a target for the bullies.
As a sports coach maintaining a positive, supportive environment will deter any bullying from occurring.
At the beginning of the season have the children and their parents sign off on the code of conduct. This document is the coaches tool against the potential bullies.
In my teams, if any negative behavior begins towards another athlete I move quickly to inform the culprits of the agreement they made at sign on.
If a team member is a target try and identify why:
- Overweight kids; they need support to improve fitness levels. A modified fitness program can help them achieve success. As the kids fitness improves so too will their sports skill development.
It will be a slow process. Be a great role model for the athletes and show patience, support and positive attitudes for the overweight kids.
- Unskilled kids; kids are cruel. When they identify someone who can’t perform basic sports skills they begin to ridicule them and their performance.
Sports coaches need to act quickly and remind athletes that everybody goes through the learning process. It’s not a race . As long as we all get there in the end.
Coaches need to give more attention and positive support to help the unskilled kids develop their skills.
- Learning or physical disabilities; youth sports has many modified rules. These rules allow not only champions to compete but also kids with disability to succeed.
A sports coach needs to be made aware of an athlete’s disability by sport administrators and the child’s parents.
The coach needs to build on the attitudes within the team or squad about how they can all support these kids. Positive attitudes to help improvement and inclusion are required. Not negative thoughts on, how CAN they participate and WHAT position will they play, and how can we win with THEM in the team.
Kids bullying only becomes a problem for the sports coach if you don’t act on negative attitudes. Kids will be kids so the adult needs to be the positive, supportive role model.
The sports kids will follow your example. You need to promote a ‘zero put down’policy. The team attitude needs to provide positive support for all. Remind athletes to have fun. Winning isn’t everything.
Do this and kids bullying won’t be a problem in your squad or team.