It’s time to end bullying in sports. It’s been more than a month since Sayreville, NJ, caught our national attention as yet another example of bullying in youth sports. Unfortunately, Sayreville is not alone. Bullying in sports programs goes undetected in our schools, parks and playgrounds across this nation. Yet, bullying in youth sports is preventable.
Three basic steps to prevention:
- Train Coaches
- Establish and Enforce Team Codes of Conduct
- Inspire Student Athletes to See Sportsmanship as Leadership
Training coaches is by far the most important step. A trained coach sets the example through their language and through the way they intentionally build positive relationships among their players. A trained coach creates team traditions such as cheers and songs that emphasize cohesion and unity. A trained coach knows how to use practices and game days to develop leadership skills in all players which leads to greater teamwork and mutual respect. And a trained coach knows exactly what to do if he/she observes or suspects that bullying is taking place.
Up2Us teamed up with The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation to develop trainings for youth sports coaches to prevent bullying. You can access more information on these trainings at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our coaching tips on how to make your team bully-free.
At Up2Us, we see sports as a critical tool for developing life skills in our youth. We view coaches as the most transformative adults for inspiring young people to achieve their personal success on and off the field. Bullying is neither a life skill or a badge of success. For National Bullying Awareness Week, I challenge every youth sports coach in the nation to join Up2Us and The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation in ending bullying on our courts, in our fields, playgrounds, and locker rooms.
CEO and Founder