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It’s Time to Put an End to Abusive Sports Parents

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Mikhail Nilov -It's Time to Put an End to Abusive Sports Parents

It’s Time to Put an End to Abusive Sports Parents! The winter season brings with it a variety of team sporting events and school derby days, which can often trigger an excessive level of support from parents. In his latest #SliceofGasant column, Gasant Abarder advises against being one of those parents. Abarder is a well-known media personality and author of Hack with a Grenade. He recently applauded the return of Ryan O’Connor to breakfast radio on Smile FM, where the presenter touched upon the topic of what kind of parent you are when your child plays sports.

As winter approaches, so does the scent of freshly cut grass, which can spark memories of parents getting overly excited and embarrassing their children at games. O’Connor himself shared a story on air about how he shouted encouragement to his daughters while they were playing netball. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with cheering on your child, Abarder’s teenage daughter recently banned him from attending her school’s derby day. He had broken one of his own rules by offering his daughter hockey advice during a game. His daughter pointed out that she was receiving guidance from the team’s qualified coaches, not from her father, who was yelling “offside” from the sidelines (a rule that does not apply in hockey).

At the Salt River Blackpool Super 7s festival, Abarder coached his other daughter’s under-10 girls’ soccer team to the semi-finals. However, he was frustrated by parents yelling contradictory instructions to their children, which was confusing for the young players. Abarder suggests that parents should refrain from offering sports coaching, just as they do not tell educators how to teach mathematics.


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During the same festival, a Blackpool FC executive committee official intervened during a penalty shootout in an under-12 round-of-16 knockout match between Blackpool and Shosholoza FC. The official pointed out to the referee that the ball had crossed the goal line and hit the angled upright that supported the goal, using video evidence on his cellphone. The goal was then allowed to stand. Despite the official’s act of integrity, some Blackpool supporters abused him for what they perceived as interference.

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Abarder has seen parents push their children so hard that playing sports is no longer enjoyable. He recounts a situation where a parent shouted abuse at a nine-year-old girl during a soccer match, telling her she was not good enough and should be replaced. Even the opposing team’s parents were uncomfortable with the situation. Abarder advocates for encouraging friendship, camaraderie, and good sportsmanship. While playing within the rules of the game is important, making friends off the field is equally valuable. Parents should allow the coaches to coach and focus on cheering their children on without causing them embarrassment or abusing the referee, opposition, or coach. Let’s not let our white-line fever spoil sports for our children. Abarder is looking forward to hearing more parenting tips from Ryan O’Connor, who supports his daughters’ activities, even though he knows nothing about netball.

Source: Time to ‘red card’ abusive sports moms and dads

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Photo by Mikhail Nilov

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