The Bullying Epidemic in Youth Sports
Last week, CNN released a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll showing that slightly more than a third of teens personally have been subjected to bullying behavior.
In the poll, more than two-thirds of teens said their friends had been bullied. Yet most adults believe bullying is a minor problem or not a problem at all, the poll found.
The poll defined bullying as ridiculing, humiliating or verbally or physically threatening another child, either in person or online.
Bullying is an epidemic in sports, just as it is in schools and other places. The many sports parents who have written us about bullying say their young athletes are teased, harassed and threatened by bullies.
Bullies will also exclude young athletes from social groups or try to intimidate them into quitting sports. But that’s not all. Young athletes must also deal with “bully coaches,” coaches who threaten, yell and intimidate.
Athletes who are subjected to bullying will often feel angry or frustrated, lose focus, play or perform tentatively, feel anxious, drop out of tournaments or competitions, or quit sports altogether. What’s more, they’re reluctant to tell their parents they’ve been bullied because they’re embarrassed or feel shame.
But here’s the good news: You can help your young athletes learn how to stay mentally tough in the face of bullies—and learn critical skills that will help them deal with these kids in all areas of their lives.
“First, Parents should be on the lookout for a drop in the child’s self esteem,” Paul Pickhardt,, Ph.D., the author of “Why Good Kids Act Cruel,” told us in an interview.
“Bullied kids think there is something the matter with them. This deflates them and creates a lack of social safety,” he says.
You also need to encourage open communication and be on the lookout for bullies in sports.
If you’re at all worried that your child is now the target of bullies, or may in the future be a target (which is very likely), you can begin teaching your young athlete right now how to stay confident in the fact of bullies.
For example, a critical tool is using sports psychology techniques to help kids stay focused and avoid getting distracted by bullies. Often, kids can’t get bullies “out of their heads,” parents tell us. If kids can get immersed in the process of playing sports, they won’t let the bully get into their heads and hurt them.
You can also use our sports psychology tips to help kids stop making comparisons to others—especially bullies. When kids stop comparing themselves to others, they aren’t as susceptible to being hurt or targeted by bullies.
We also have some great tips for helping kids boost their self-confidence when bullies strike and doubt sets in. For example, they can start by recognizing doubts when they appear, and change them into statements of confidence.
Want to learn more about how to ensure your young athletes stay confident and focused when bullies strike? Check out our new program, “Helping Young Athletes Stay Confident and Focused in the Face of Bullies.”
Check it out here:
We’re on a mission to stop bullying in sports. We want to help your kids fight this epidemic in athletics and other areas of their lives.
What are people saying about our resources?
Just yesterday, we received this email from a basketball coach:
“I’d be honored to have the opportunity to spend some time with you two. I have been to the website often and listened to several podcasts. You guys do great work.”
Help us end bullying in sports and ensure your kids stay strong and confident.
P.S. Our anti-bullying program includes a guide for parents, a workbook for athletes, plus audio interviews with many anti-bullying experts.
Check it out here:
How to Be Mentally Tough in The Face of Bullies
Bullying is out of control in sports and it can be destructive to our sports kids.
All kind son kids can be the targets of bullies:
- Gifted athletes are often targeted because others are jealous.
- Kids who are smaller and less physically advanced also can become the focus of bullies.
- When kids are competing for a ladder position on a team, bullying is also common.
- Girls taunt, tease, exclude, and hurt one another in sports just as much as boys do.
But bullies aren’t just kids… There are plenty of bully coaches too!
Bullying can not only cause kids to drop out of sports but it can also hurt their confidence in life.
We’ve developed a program to help you protect your kids from bullying!
You’ll learn numerous mental game skills to help your sports kids overcome bullying.
What are sports parents saying?
“We Don’t Want to Become Typical Sports Parents”
“We appreciate your newsletter so much. Especially with our son an elite athlete, it helps us so much. It helps us understand how he thinks, what he needs, and how not to become one of those typical sports parents.”
~Kirsten Lenko B.C., Canada
Help Your Young Athletes Improve Focus In Sports!
Are your young athletes easily distracted by people shouting on the sidelines? Do they obsess over their mistakes? Do they worry about what people think of them?
These issues will cause their concentration and performance to suffer!
The Focused Sports Kid helps kids overcome distractions that can hurt their performance in sports.
This is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to discover secrets to helping young athletes improve focus and concentration!
The Focused Sports Kid program is actually two programs: one for sports parents/coaches that provides mental game tips especially designed for parents and coaches, and for young athletes, ages 8 to 12, that will walk them through 7 simple lessons in mental focus in sports.
What are parents and coaches saying?
“I read your report and prepared a one-page summary for my team. I asked the team to attend a 10am training session on Saturday before the final on Sunday. (I told parents) they must obtain the one-page summary handout from me and ask a parent to read it to them until they understood what it meant…My boys succeeded! We beat a team that no one could beat during the year, that was coached by a former professional player that had sons of former Professional players in the team and as a result of believing in themselves, they won. In my humble opinion , I look beyond the game and hope the kids have learned a lesson in life that you really can do almost anything if you put your mind to it. We salute you and the wonderful work you do.”
~Anthony (Tony) Costa, coach
“We just completed the first ten tips, it has helped tremendously for (our daughter) and us. We’ve learned to keep our behavior and comments in check. She’s letting mistakes happen and not worrying about them, she’s now just moves on to the next play with the same attitude as before the mistakes. She’s playing more aggressively all game. Her coach even mentioned that whatever we are doing, keep doing because it’s working.”
~Scott, Sports Dad