How to Handle Bullying in Youth Sports
Posted by: Liam Murphy | Director of Soccer Operations
At Rapids Youth Soccer, we pride ourselves on community-focused programming. One way to maintain this positive environment is to identify and respond to bullying quickly and effectively early on. The truth is, bullying can be common in youth sports, between kids, coaches, and even parents. We rely on our members to report bullying when they see it and, in turn, assure parents and players they will be supported when an incident occurs.
Not all joking or horseplay qualifies as bullying, and we understand that. Our Anti-Bullying policy recognizes bullying as conduct with the intent to cause distress. More specifically:
Bullying is defined as conduct, gestures or comments which are insulting, intimidating, humiliating, hurtful, malicious, degrading or otherwise offensive to a player, group of players and/or teammates, and which create a hostile or intimidating environment, or which negatively affects a player’s physical and/or emotional well-being. Bullying is any written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication, whether it is a single incident or a series of incidents that results in intentional pain and distress to the victim.
Rapids Youth Soccer does not tolerate bullying at any practice, game, or sanctioned events. We encourage our coaches and parents to know and identify the signs of bullying when they arise. While some children are prone to report bullying to their parents, coaches, or adults, others will not, due to fear or intimidation. Review this list for potential signs of bullying.
If you are concerned about bullying on your child’s soccer team, follow these steps to address and amend the issue:
- Talk to your child. Gather as much information about the events as possible and discuss next steps.
- Report incidents to the team coach or manager. If the problem persists, reach out to the Rapids Youth Soccer Coaching Director or Executive Director.
- In all reported cases, Rapids Youth Soccer will talk with the parents of the player who was bullied. These discussions are strictly confidential.
- Rapids Youth Soccer will also talk separately with the parents of the player reported to be bullying. Strategies to amend the players behavior will be discussed.
Rapids Youth Soccer has a thorough Anti-Bullying Policy with consequences that will be applied in these situations.
- In a first offense situation involving bullying, an attempt will be made to encourage the bully (or bullies) to modify their behavior for their benefit, for the benefit of the person bullied, and for the team. An attempt will be made by the coach, manager, or parent(s) to reconcile the situation between players (age and level of maturity and or severity of offense must be considered).
- If the bullying persists, disciplinary action against a player may be taken by the team coach and/or CRYSC Executive Director which may include, but is not limited to, immediate suspension from participation in practices or game(s) for a period of time.
- After the incident/incidents have been investigated and addressed, the situation will continue to be monitored by the respective team coach, team manager, and players’ parents to ensure the problem is resolved.
We appreciate the collective effort of our parents, coaches, and referees to treat each other with respect and model exemplary behavior within our program. We believe that Rapids Youth Soccer and our community work hard to provide one of the best soccer cultures in Colorado.