We hear it time and time again. Reminders to watch the conduct of players and spectators on and off the court. And unfortunately, conduct is still an issue.
Basketball is a fast-growing sport, seeing more and more kids taking to the courts. This is a great way for kids to build coordination, team skills and sporting skills.
We know that kids get frustrated, but learning to control those frustrations and respond appropriately is part of the sport.
Parents play a significant role in working with their children to learn appropriate ways to manage their emotions on and off the court.
Sadly, it is often parent behaviour at games that is the cause of the issue, and a lot of the time, parents aren’t aware they are doing it. What they feel is supportive directions from the side can often conflict what the coach is directing players to do, causing players to feel frustrated.
As a parent, it’s easy to get caught up in a game. To feel frustration when the refs calls don’t seem to go your way or to worry that your coach is not treating your child the same as others on the team. However, voicing these frustrations on the court can have a huge impact. Even the little things that parents mutter under their breath can have a significant impact.
One of the things we forget is where conduct issues come from and the simple, little things we say or do as parents that can lead to poor conduct on the court.
Not every referee is perfect and there may be situations where you have concerns around referee conduct, however, the reality is that most issues are being generated by coaches, players and/or spectators and as young people the referees are not experienced in reacting to confrontation.
Repeatedly shouting “foul”, “travel” or “how long”, is effectively stating that you disagree with the umpire’s decision not to call it. This can chip away at the confidence of young referees over the course of a game, over many games in a day.
This behavior undermines the referees, and teaches the players that disrespect is acceptable.
Most referees are minors and players at our club and it is important that, as parents, we stop and think how we would feel if it was our child out there.
Referees improve with experience, just like players. We want them to get that experience by staying in the job. They will not stay if they continue to be subject to coach and spectator interjections.
Although this video is American (and refers to team selection etc. activities we don’t have in domestic basketball), it provides some timely reminders for parents on their role in encouraging their children. We know that very few kids in our club will go on to be professional athletes – but we still want them all to learn all aspects of what it means to be part of a competitive team. This helps them to build important life skills.