Soccer Sidelines — Set a Good Example
by Kelly Curtis.
Soccer season is here and with it comes mega-miles in minivans, and busy nights at practices and games. Many soccer leagues offer opportunities for experienced players to assist in lower level tournaments. It’s also a chance for parents to role model positive sideline behavior.
Search Institute has identified “Adult Role Models” as one of the 40 Developmental Assets, which means research shows it’s a characteristic of healthy, caring, resilient kids. The more assets youth have, the more likely they’ll resist risky behaviors in the future. Search defines “Adult Role Models” as: “Parents and other adults in the child’s family, as well as nonfamily adults, model positive, responsible behavior.”
Youth soccer games are critical places for adults to demonstrate positive behavior, like respectful interaction, support of players, and appreciation for adult coaches and referees. There are many other adults and youth in attendance, and they can learn from us. Yet in the excitement of the game, many parents do the exact opposite.
To address this, the Mid New Jersey Youth Soccer Association created a program called “S.A.G.E.” — an acronym for “Set A Good Example.” The program includes a sportsmanship pledge signed by players, parents and coaches. The pledge reminds all involved about the true purpose of youth sports — for kids to have fun! It also outlines expected sportsmanlike behavior. Signing the pledge is a condition of participation in the league. Here’s an excerpt:
“Whether I am a player or an adult, I will not be critical of players, referees, coaches or spectators. As an adult, I should know that failing to show respect for people who are doing the best they can sets a bad example for our children and can result in expulsion from the site, suspension from future attendance, and even barring a child from playing.”
We’re all guilty of getting wound up in the game once in a while, and sometimes we’re frustrated about the outcome or player performance. But we need to remember how loudly our actions speak. The way we interact with other parents, coaches and referees, as well as players on either side of the field, creates a climate.
So set a good example. Your kids will be glad you did.
Thanks for joining in to build assets in your kids! I look forward to seeing you again next month for Positively Speaking.
For more sportsmanship resources, please visit Kindness Counts.
by Kelly Curtis
Pass the Torch