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3 Tips From a Youth Sports Official

by Lori Sciame | August 6th, 2015 | Tweens

sports equipment (400x400)You’re blind ref!  What do you mean she’s out? Traveling!   Youth sports officials have a tough job.  They must know every rule of the sport they are officiating, they must keep up with every play during a game, and they must deal with PARENTS.

It’s the sad truth.  Many parents of tweens take away from the fun of team sports.  Not only do they harass the officials, they try to coach from the sidelines.  Recently, I interviewed a youth sports official, one with 30 years experience, on the subject of parents of tweens.  Here are three things he would like them to understand.

1.  Please don’t coach from the sidelines.

All teams have a designated coach.  Even if a parent disagrees with the coach’s decisions, she should not scream her own plays from the sidelines.  Imagine this: the coach tells a tween to complete a specific play; however, as soon as the action starts, he hears his father screaming for him to do something else.  This would be confusing to say the least.

The official I interviewed stated that it is fine to coach your child before or after the game. Coaching during the game just sets a tween up for failure.

2.  Please realize that your child is not a professional athlete.

One of the hardest things for a parent to admit – your tween is not an NBA (NFL or any other league) star.  He might some day be on a professional team, but right now, he is not. According to the official I talked to, he has seen too many parents take all the fun out of the game by placing too much pressure on their child. While being supportive is a great thing, pretending that the game is on an advanced level can be detrimental to a child’s love of sport.

In addition, if one truly does the math, only a very small minority of children end up in professional sports. Instead of insisting your child is a phenom vocally at games, work with the child on skill building.  Only then will your child even have a chance of making it big.

3.  Please understand that officials are people too.

As I alluded to in the opening paragraph, youth sports officials have a tough job.  On top of the stress of taking tests to verify they know all the rules and dealing with angry fans, they don’t get paid much money to officiate games.  In essence, these men and women officiate because they LOVE sports, and they want young people to grow up LOVING sports as well.

When a parent becomes belligerent with an official due to a missed call or for some other issue, he or she sends the wrong message to the child.  Mistakes happen.  Officials make mistakes. Realize that and move on.

Concluding Thoughts

Being a youth sports official can be difficult at times; however, those that do it have a deep passion for sports.  After all, sports provide a means of exercise, they can be fun, and they teach life lessons.

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