For The Love of The Game

Things may have gone a bit PC mad lately with medals for all and non competitive matches, but sometimes parents need to remember that junior level sports should mainly be played for the love of the game.

On The Sidelines.

Last night Buddy had an U11 hurling match. Besides grumpy big teen we all headed up the field to watch him. A tired and cranky Little Miss OMG decided that the park would be more fun. So Mrs OMG and her left leaving Teen 2 and I as the cheering section.

Buddy was in goal so I wandered down to stand behind the goal to attempt to get some pictures.

There was also another parent there doing the calling of points and wides.

Encouragement vs Shouting

Now I’ll admit I can get a bit carried away when the teens play. Nothing abusive now. Just encouraging the boys and their team mates. It’s hard not to get caught up in the heat of the moment.

At Buddy’s match though some of the things the parents were shouting was shocking! These are only young boys. They should be playing for the love of the game and enjoyment. It really doesn’t matter if they win or lose. As long as everyone has fun.

Does Shouting Help Them?

A dozen different parents and coaches all shouting different things only leads to stress and nerves. I noticed it with Buddy.

He was the goalkeeper and when it came to time to take puck outs. There were half a dozen kids and the same amount of adults shouting at him.

“Hit it to Brian!”

“Look Tommy is free!”

“Take a quick one”

“Take your time”

Is it any wonder that he then gets confused and makes a mess of it.

I have to say the other parent behind the goal was brilliant. Constantly encouraging and telling Buddy how good he was doing. Even telling him to ignore all the shouting and take his time with the puck outs.

Learning for Themselves

Another more important reason that during matches the players should be left to their own devices is how are they going to learn to think for themselves?

If the coach is constantly telling them what to do they won’t learn to anticipate and read the game.

Won’t learn to think for themselves in

The Good of the Team

Having coached Junior Soccer there’s also the problem that a parent’s primary concern is their own child. So whilst the coach at have instructed them to do one thing. Their parent wants them to be the star.

May times I’ve had parents telling their son’s do this or that, which is completely against the tactics the coach has set up for.


One of the biggest issues around shouty parents on the sidelines is the example they are setting for the kids.

I’ve heard the officials being called names. Their integrity being questioned after a decision the at went against their sons team.

I was brought up to not question the referees decision. Not to talk back to them and most certainly never to curse at or insult them.

Our youngsters are being shown that it’s OK to do all these things if a decision goes against you.

I heard a radio piece a while back about a silent touchline for youth sports. I think this is a brilliant idea.

Let the kids learn from their mistakes, respect the officials and the opposition, perhaps though most importantly let them play for the love of the game. Maybe then more children will stay involved with sports for longer.

1 thought on “For The Love of The Game”

  1. I think this is one of my biggest pet peeves with sports! We were always taught to be nice to the referees and thank them after the game was over. But the kid’s whose parents were screaming at them always pulled their kids right off the field.

    Great post!

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