Preventing and Addressing Bullying in Youth Sports

Bullying is an enormous problem in youth and high school sports, manifested in coaches who cross the line between demanding and demeaning, parents pressuring their children and hazing incidents among student-athletes. Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) – a national non-profit that helps develop “Better Athletes, Better People” through youth and high school sports – provides solutions for bullying in sports.

In addition to conducting more than 2,000 live group workshops per year for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes – all to provide information and inspiration that helps create a positive, character-building youth sports experience – PCA also provides 1,000+ free printable and audio-video resources at www.PCADevZone.org.

One such resource is this video from a panel discussion, Bullying and a Culture of Performance at the 5th Annual Institute of Sports Law and Ethics Symposium at Santa Clara University.

In the video, PCA Founder Jim Thompson moderates a discussion among panelists, including:

  • PCA National Advisory Board Member and World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain
  • Dr. Gary Namie, who founded the Workplace Bullying Institute and served as an expert witness for the Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito case
  • Dr. William Pollack, PCA National Advisory Board Member and author of Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood

These experts tackle the subject of bullying with passion, and they urge listeners to recognize that “anyone can be bullied in the right situation.” At one point, Chastain even admits that she considers her actions as a young soccer player to be of a bullying nature, and it took her a long time to recognize how negatively her behavior affected her team.

School and youth sports organization leaders, coaches, parents and athletes all share a responsibility to eliminate bullying. As the panel suggests, this not only makes the game safer, but it increases performance levels by removing fear and negativity.

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