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Sep20

Written by:admin
9/20/2009 

Are attitudes contagious in youth sports?  The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association thinks so, so much that the organization made a video regarding how the behavior of parents on the sideline can affect the game, particularly the players and officials.  The 25-minute video, titled Attitudes are Contagious, focused on the perspective of the officials and players. The video included interviews with players ages 11-17 and referees, and also showed footage of soccer games with parents in the foreground.  To view the video, go to www.mayouthsoccer.org/video/attitudes.mov

Overzealous soccer parents target of video

By BILL WELLS

Are attitudes contagious in youth sports?  The Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association thinks so, so much that the organization made a video regarding how the behavior of parents on the sideline can affect the game, particularly the players and officials.  The 25-minute video, titled Attitudes are Contagious, focused on the perspective of the officials and players. The video included interviews with players ages 11-17 and referees, and also showed footage of soccer games with parents in the foreground.  To view the video, go to www.mayouthsoccer.org/video/attitudes.mov

Parents and coaches were not interviewed.

There’s a shortage of soccer officials, largely due to the actions of parents on the sidelines. On its Web site, Mass Youth Soccer said it produced the video because it wants to "ensure children have a positive, fun experience playing the game." The Web site said the piece is suited for parents, coaches and players.

And that may be true, but after watching the video, it was clearly directed at one group: parents.

Some of the game footage was, at the same time, funny and pathetic, with parents acting as if that game was "life or death," as one official put it.

One 11-year-old boy said his mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about when she starts yelling at the ref.

"I try to block her out of my mind," he said.

Another young player added, "Sometimes it can embarrass me knowing my dad’s over there."

A female player said there "would be more kids playing soccer and more refs" if parents calmed down.

The video was broken down into a few segments, including "Checking Baggage at the Door." Kids know when their parents have a bad day, whether at work or home. When those parents bring their baggage to a youth sporting event, sometimes it gets dumped onto the field.

"Something just happens. They lose it," said a referee. "They go crazy because they had a bad day," added another.

A player said if parents have a tough day at work, "they want to take it out on someone else."

A young female official had a great line, saying, "I’m sorry those kids have to go home to those parents."

The officials admitted they hear the parents on the sidelines. They also admitted it affects how they call the game. One referee said the banter usually starts with one or two parents, and then starts to trickle to the rest.

MYSA said 35 percent of all soccer officials fail to register the following year.

One official said when the parents are continuously negative, "it’s hard to keep my head in the game."

The video closed by saying parents should be supportive and even-tempered, and always try to set the example: "Attitudes are contagious, so let’s make it a positive one."

To view the video, go to www.mayouthsoccer.org/video/attitudes.mov


Bill Wells can be reached at
wellsb6@charter.net

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