Respect can be shown in many ways in Football, Sport and in everyday life.As a sportsman it is important that respect is shown to all different groups of public’s such as the Match Officials,the team-mates,the opponents,parents and themselves.They are role models to each other so they must make sure that their behaviour doesn’t rub off on anyone else.When we talk about respect in sport and football people tend to instantly think of the children and how it should be their behaviour that is monitored, when in fact the children gain their respectful characteristics from their role models like they’re parents and teachers as well as the individuals they idolize.Because of this it is those senior figures in the children’s lives which we must monitor especially in the sporting context where respect and Integrity is valued so highly.
Over the years of coaching whether it be in England , America or Australia I have come across a lot of horrendous and disrespectful behaviour from parents and spectators.While I was in America I coached a team in my region whose parent coaches behaviour was questionable to say the least in upholding respect to the sport.I was sent there to be the lead coach and train them and be their game day coach.Every game they would shout and scream for everything like they were parent coaches of Liverpool FC and not a U9 youth team.It was appalling to watch 8 yr old children being shouted at like they were soldiers and witnessing three adult men only believe in winning rather than the players development ,progression and happiness.The yelling was so constant and extremely intimidating for the children, it was verging on the unbelievable.The conduct could only be classed as abuse to intimidate 8-9 yr olds, so I had to get the Football Club involved to come down and watch in secret so they could witness it for themselves, although there were many different forms of disrespect involved from parents shouting negative feedback on the sidelines to the players and to the referees which even spread to the training sessions.In training I saw a distinct decline in player behaviour as the weeks of poor behaviour from the parents got more and more intense, the behavioural virus was infecting all aspects of the team and in training the parent coaches started to try to take active involvement in my sessions. stopping my sessions to make a pointless point based around winning games which I was shocked and infuriated by and then in another session he stopped my highly intensive combination passing session because he wanted me to run a session on throw ins, which you don’t teach as a session its like somebody wanting to work on corners for a U9 team, these are elements that can be touched on during breaks and pre match and these guys were complaining and sending in unwarranted complaints because they had watched a few Premier League games on Fox in the states and thought they knew it all, when all they achieved was to install misbehaviour and a culture of blame and fear of making mistakes.
This was absolutely a disgrace to youth Football and those coaches were bringing the sport into disrepute and is exactly what we need to avoid, other teams i have coached have flourished with positive feedback and a present respect campaign.Players need these positive and influential figures in they’re young lives in order to become good human beings, if these children are brought up with negative influences around them they will learn from those influences and then eventually go on to teach the same negative characteristics to other generations.There should be set rules at matches of younger ages such as all feedback from the sidelines should be positive for both the home and away team and any negativity should be ordered away from the field, parents and especially parent coaches should show respect to the actual training professional coach in front of children and set an example for those children,parent should be made to sign a respect campaign form stating their intent to be a positive role model for the other children at the club.Parents should never talk to the referee or shout at him/her, only one person should be allowed to talk to the referee and that is the experienced qualified trainer and this should not be during the game and in front of prying eyes as being a good role model is essential! if we are to have the children respecting humanity.
I worry about the game in Britain as negative people are ingrained into every local youth club, whenever i go to watch a game i witness the same abuse but the difference in England is that you hear a lot of obscenities and swear words and it is considered part of the game which is absolutely unacceptable but it is a tough issue to solve as it is a Working Class sport and this is the culture it is built around upon all steps on the hierarchy so even if legislation is brought in to curb this it is still impossible to monitor and bring through into fruition.It raises many questions, what do you do with a parent who is abusive on the sidelines ? do you forever ban them from the field of play? if so are you punishing the child by doing so?.There are many issues in respect that is plaguing our youth game and we should work tirelessly to improve the number of positive role models we have infiltrating the sport at all levels so that children learn to respect their coaches,teachers,parents, team-mates,opponents and themselves.