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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Mon Sep 11, 2006, 10:07am
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Letter to youth sports officials

I ran across this item on a site called Mom's Team. It's an article by sports psychotherapist Dr. Keith Wilson sort of apologizing for bad attitudes exhibited by parents, coaches and players in youth sports.

It goes on to ask that referees be proactive in dealing with these issues.

Among his requests:
Quote:
Take Control Of The Whole Game

The laws of the game are focused on what happens on the field. However, some other very manageable actions will help to transform the youth sports culture.

Be proactive in what you expect in the game. Referees are very good at letting players know what they expect and consequently players have learned to play to the referee's level of expectation. When the referee does not make this clear, the ref spends significant time in the game establishing the level of play that is acceptable.


Be proactive with the coaches. Make it clear at the beginning of the game how you want the coach to communicate with you. It is much easier to keep coaches at the level of interacting you want when the standard has been stated clearly at the outset of the game. It is easier to intervene the first time the coach tests the limit because it has been clearly stated before the match. When it has not been clearly stated, the coach often responds negatively because they feel they are being picked on and the standard is not the same for both coaches.


Be proactive with the coach concerning the role of parents at the game. Make it clear that the coach is responsible for the action of the parents. If parents are being negative, you will approach the coach to have them take care of the situation. If the coach does not take care of it then you will have the parent leave the field.


In order for this to be effective-the parents of the team must be on the same sideline as the coach so that it is clear which team the parent belongs to.


The coach wants to be focused on the game and not distracted by the parents. The coach will help the parents stay in a contained manner in their cheering and communication about the play on the field.
Full article at:
http://www.momsteam.com/alpha/featur...fficials.shtml
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Old Mon Sep 11, 2006, 12:21pm
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I thought that was a pretty good article. It was nice to hear a parent admit they don't know the game. As far as the requests they have of officials, most of us try to do that, but I don't think the parent understands their place on the pecking order. Often their games will get newer officials or officials that are working many games in a day. I gotta say I'm a better official at a varsity double header than a weekend tournament when I'm working 7 games in a row.
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Old Mon Sep 11, 2006, 12:35pm
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Please note that the article relates to youth sports or "kiddy" ball. It's certainly not very relevant to any higher level imo. It's certainly not relevant or recommended for any high school level.

Tell the coaches before the game how they will have to talk to you? And the first time that they don't follow your instructions, you will.....? Put all the spectators over by the coach's bench? Heck, no...that wouldn't distract the coach.

If they really want to improve youth sport's culture, they should just tell the parents to stay home. That'd work.
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Old Mon Sep 11, 2006, 12:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimgolf
I ran across this item on a site called Mom's Team. It's an article by sports psychotherapist Dr. Keith Wilson sort of apologizing for bad attitudes exhibited by parents, coaches and players in youth sports.

It goes on to ask that referees be proactive in dealing with these issues.

Among his requests:

Full article at:
http://www.momsteam.com/alpha/featur...fficials.shtml
This all is much easier said then done. If it were this easy we wouldn't have a shortage of officials at every level. If I have to do all this I better get a big pay raise!
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Old Mon Sep 11, 2006, 08:23pm
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Why not just have a 'time out' corner?
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Tue Sep 12, 2006, 01:00am
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I agree with almost all of what the good Dr. writes. I have been saying much of the same for the past 5 years and I don't have a doctorate in sports psych -- not that one is needed to grasp this stuff.

The best thing that he wrote is "Take control of the Whole game." That is what a real referee does. You control the entire environment of play, not just the inbounds part.

He is a bit mistaken in a couple of areas however.

1. For youth soccer, it is far better to have the spectators on the opposite side of the field from both teams. It is even mandated at Youth Regionals and strongly preferred for NFHS play.
Instead he states:
"In order for this to be effective-the parents of the team must be on the same sideline as the coach so that it is clear which team the parent belongs to."

Actually, it doesn't matter which team this person is with. The referee simply dismisses them from the area and ensures that they cannot see the game from their new location. Their punishment is that they cannot watch any further action in the contest. Really why should we care which team this person supports? Should the ref make calls against this team or otherwise penalize them due to the poor behavior of a fan? The focus should be on dealing with the poor behavior, not who deals with it, and this is best accomplished by getting rid of the offender.

2. As JR posted the idea of explaining to the coaches how they need to communicate with a referee prior to the match is silly. The coach is an adult and should not need to be told to communicate in a respectful manner. When the coach does, the ref should respond to it by answering the question or at least acknowledging the point, but when the coach doesn't behave in a responsible manner the coach should be penalized. Nothing sends a stronger message about what is expected than that. Actions not words work.

PS Don't let Rut see this thread! He doesn't believe that game officials have a positive role to play in the behavior in youth sports.

Last edited by Nevadaref; Tue Sep 12, 2006 at 01:08am.
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Old Tue Sep 12, 2006, 03:02am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
PS Don't let Rut see this thread! He doesn't believe that game officials have a positive role to play in the behavior in youth sports.
Wow, I am really in your head.

Maybe I will quote an NCAA rule and you will then go away.

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Old Tue Sep 12, 2006, 08:59am
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This article is indeed strictly for youth sports. High school level and above are supposed to have game management that instructs the fans, coaches and players to behave properly and exhibit good sportsmanship.

At the youth basketball level, there are many involved who are just learning the game, and it is helpful in the long run if the officials involved share their knowledge and experience, even though this is outside the normal job description. This enhances the game experience for all involved, including the officials, since the fans get to see that the officials are knowledgeable and on top of things, and usually behave better.

Of course there are some who will never get it, and the next article that site should publish is how to get the youth sports organizers more involved in game management.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old Tue Sep 12, 2006, 03:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge
Wow, I am really in your head.

Maybe I will quote an NCAA rule and you will then go away.
With credit to Patrick Roy... I can't hear you. I have my state championship rings in my ears!
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old Tue Sep 12, 2006, 03:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
With credit to Patrick Roy... I can't hear you. I have my state championship rings in my ears!
You did not do it where I live or in the same association.

If you were such a good official, why are you talking about youth sports?

Peace
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Old Wed Sep 13, 2006, 04:48am
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge
You did not do it where I live or in the same association.
Oh, we're back to that again. Illinois is the only place in the world that counts. So sorry, but there are 49 other states which have people who work and play.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge
If you were such a good official, why are you talking about youth sports?
How nice of you to crap on all youth officials everywhere.
Perhaps it is because I enjoy giving some time to youngsters. Perhaps I have kids involved the league or a friend's kids are involved and they need a ref. Whatever the reasons are that people officiate youth sports, who the )^%#@ are you to judge them? I personally know three FIFA referees who despite working at the international and domestic professional level continue to officiate local youth soccer games.
These good people are out there doing something positive and you want to put them down. Once again you display your ignorance and lack of class.
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Old Wed Sep 13, 2006, 05:29am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
Oh, we're back to that again. Illinois is the only place in the world that counts. So sorry, but there are 49 other states which have people who work and play.
I did not say anything about Illinois (or any state for that matter) at all. I just know that you cannot compare your state final opportunities to what I have accomplished or what anyone has accomplished in their respective states. We do not work in the same system or follow the same qualifications to work post-season. You sound like those LL umpires on the baseball site trying to convince everyone that the guys they saw in the LL World Series are just as good as umpires working major college and pro ball.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref
How nice of you to crap on all youth officials everywhere.
Perhaps it is because I enjoy giving some time to youngsters. Perhaps I have kids involved the league or a friend's kids are involved and they need a ref. Whatever the reasons are that people officiate youth sports, who the )^%#@ are you to judge them? I personally know three FIFA referees who despite working at the international and domestic professional level continue to officiate local youth soccer games.
These good people are out there doing something positive and you want to put them down. Once again you display your ignorance and lack of class.
Nevada, take a chill pill. I think you really need to get out of the hot sun. I work youth football and have worked in a youth league for many years. I also worked youth basketball and some baseball as well over my career. I also have never tried to fool myself into thinking that we are anymore than what we are to these kids than a "shirt." Most officials that work these games do so strictly for the money and could give a damn of much else. I played sports all my life and I cannot think of one time an official played some major role in my life. I could not even tell you how many officials were working our games at one time.

My role models were parents, teachers, my pastor and even a family friend that spent 20+ years in the military and I grew up with and went to school with his son who was my best friend. My girl-friend's oldest brother was Valedictorian at his HS in June and he did not even play sports. If you ask me you are putting too much emphasis on sports and the people in them. Of course sports can be a very important aspect of a kid’s growth, but that goes for any extra-curricular activity. No wonder why we have kids that think they are getting to the NBA or making the NFL with people like you. Maybe Maurice Clarrett had you as a role model.

Peace
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Old Wed Sep 13, 2006, 10:40am
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Well this whole post hits a real nerve for me as I am very much into youth sports for this very reason. Allot of parents are real idiots and I have to deal with them every year because a new crop will start with their little Jordans every year. I set the tone early in my clinic league (K and 1st grade) that parent behavior WILL be delt with and usually by 3rd grade most problems have been weeded out.

We have a board member at every gym during every game and they are responsible for game management. The officals are there to instruct and officiate not deal with parents. Thats my job as president of the league and I take it very seriously. At over 50 teams and 600 kids it is a constant challange to deal with parents without just telling them to grow up and get a life! But I treat everyone the same and fairly and over the years have gotten a reputation as being that way. Most of the time I just listen to their problems and that will do the trick.

To say that youth officals are there just for the money is a joke. All of my officals are registered and all but two are school coaches in the middle school or freshman level. They are there to promote our townships program and try to make our program better. They get paid sure...but I honestly think they would be there even if they weren't. I do what I do because of the kids and our program and put countless hours into running it and I don't get paid or even have a kid in the league...so why do I do it! So to make a blanket statement like that is just ignorant!

To say kids don't look up to sports volunteers is a joke also. Coaches always have an impact on kids as a role model and their behavior anytime they are around the kids is highly scrutinized. You act like role model or your gone...its that simple! For those of you who actually played youth sports tell me you can't name every coach you ever had...I rest my case. No you don't remember every game or its outcome and you sure don't remember any offical's but the coaches you do. So I hold them to a higher standard.

To say officals at the youth level aren't just as good and dedicated is also just ignorant. Believe it or not allot of officals like to do youth games because its fun and gives them a chance to interact with todays kids.

You are right...you can't compare state finals you officiate (I bow down to your presence)to a youth program because I actually have a positive impact in our community...and lets face it...you don't!

Last edited by euby; Wed Sep 13, 2006 at 10:54am.
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Old Wed Sep 13, 2006, 11:00am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euby
Well this whole post hits a real nerve for me as I am very much into youth sports for this very reason. Allot of parents are real idiots and I have to deal with them every year because a new crop will start with their little Jordans every year. I set the tone early in my clinic league (K and 1st grade) that parent behavior WILL be delt with and usually by 3rd grade most problems have been weeded out.

We have a board member at every gym during every game and they are responsible for game management. The officals are there to instruct and officiate not deal with parents. Thats my job as president of the league and I take it very seriously. At over 50 teams and 600 kids it is a constant challange to deal with parents without just telling them to grow up and get a life! But I treat everyone the same and fairly and over the years have gotten a reputation as being that way. Most of the time I just listen to their problems and that will do the trick.

To say that youth officals are there just for the money is a joke. All of my officals are registered and all but two are school coaches in the middle school or freshman level. They are there to promote our townships program and try to make our program better. They get paid sure...but I honestly think they would be there even if they weren't. I do what I do because of the kids and our program and put countless hours into running it and I don't get paid or even have a kid in the league...so why do I do it! So to make a blanket statement like that is just ignorant!

To say kids don't look up to sports volunteers is a joke also. Coaches always have an impact on kids as a role model and their behavior anytime they are around the kids is highly scrutinized. You act like role model or your gone...its that simple! For those of you who actually played youth sports tell me you can't name every coach you ever had...I rest my case. No you don't remember every game or its outcome and you sure don't remember any offical's but the coaches you do. So I hold them to a higher standard.

To say officals at the youth level aren't just as good and dedicated is also just ignorant. Believe it or not allot of officals like to do youth games because its fun and gives them a chance to interact with todays kids.

You are right...you can't compare state finals you officiate (I bow down to your presence)to a youth program because I actually have a positive impact in our community...and lets face it...you don't!
Excellent post imo, Euby. Too bad all league administrators don't have their heads screwed on straight like you do. The problem is that there are a lot of leagues that aren't administered as well as your's is.

Keep up the good fight.
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Old Wed Sep 13, 2006, 11:47am
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As one who is involved with youth sports, I believe there are many very qualified officials who only officiated youth sports for a variety of reasons (not for the money), one being that their regular job and or family does not permit them the time to officiated anything but youth sports during weekends. I myself could not work anything except youth sports for a number of years due to the amount of travel required from my day job. About 5-6 years ago, this changed and allowed me the jump in the fray of HS BB. I feel very fortunate that I was given the opportunity to jump into HS BB and now have the passion to work hard and be given the opportunity to be assigned higher level games. Every year I have been my schedule has included a larger percentage of varsity level games and would hope within the next 2 seasons to make the playoff list. This does not make me any better that "youth officials". I know that working all those "youth games" prepared me to take the next level. I have tremendous respect for those youth officials because they expose themselves to more explosive situation than we will ever see. They rarely have game site administrators and deal coaches and parents think that they only reason they are working there teams or child's games is for revenge. Let's give thanks to those youth officials because if they do there job right, it will make our job that much easier when these players make it to high school!
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