Everyone who’s attended a match or game in youth sports has experienced it—someone directing loud comments at a player, coach, referee, or even another fan. And while cheering on youth athletes has many positive aspects and should be encouraged, it can be a slippery slope from engaging in constructive morale-boosting to dishing out intrusive, verbal abuse.
A good rule of thumb is to ask would yelling be appropriate in a normal situation, says Mike Clayton, Manager of the National Coaches Education Program (NCEP) for USA Wrestling. If a child is doing something that could imminently injure him/herself, for example, that would warrant yelling to keep the athlete safe. But such cases, he notes, are rare.
“Unfortunately, most yelling isn’t designed to help the young athlete as much as it is to allow the adult to vent their frustrations,” Clayton says. “While that isn’t what the adult intends to communicate, the child still feels shame and fear. Kids release that shame and fear by often underperforming or by being angry in matches or practice.” Continue reading at www.teamusa.org
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