Getting a bunch of kids together and cooperating can be a challenge. Everyone has their own style, sense of humor, personal space bubbles, etc. It's hard to find the right happy medium to please every personality. So how can we create a space free of negativity? One way is to encourage a positive environment at all times. Robert Ingersol once said, "we rise by lifting others." This is a simple but profound statement, and it fits perfectly with SUP's mission. It's a philosophy that fits within the setting of team sports. We want to show kids that to be on a team, to experience the joy of success, we need to lift each other up! If there's a kid who is being picked on, it's safe to say, that kid would not be having fun. When we get to the games, the picked on kid may simply not want to be there. So if that's the case, they won't try as hard. Then, from a coaches perspective, when the other kids voice their frustration that the bullied kid isn't giving it their all, the question becomes, "how are you encouraging them?" SUP is firm on the belief that negativity is not a recipe for success!
SUP believes we can come along side families and schools to supplement areas of personal growth for youth. Lara Mossman points to a study that shows that youth coaches can offer a lot in this realm by, "helping players deal with frustration on the field, teaching players how to lose well, how to play in the right spirit, i.e. fair and not dirty, dealing with interpersonal issues on the team, teaching players to respect teammates, the opposition and officials and the importance of mutual respect ..." and the list goes on.
At SUP, our coaches do everything from running the program itself to reffing the games. So all of the aforementioned responsibilities resonate! We believe that with the fast paced society of our culture, families and schools appreciate any help they can get to help their kids succeed.
Admittedly, we live in the age of video review. Soccer is slowly adopting forms of it, and North America is on the forefront of that movement. Youth sports will definitely be the last to implement that technology, if they ever do. Whenever human error is involved, refs will miss calls and kids will need to learn how to respect the referees decision, even when they disagree. Adults know that, and there's nothing worse than a bad call affecting the outcome of a game. But kids need to learn to respect authority and referees are a great place to learn that lesson first.
Of course, sportsmanship is key, and most people would vote to see an end to bullying once and for all. As coaches and influencers of youth, we are on the front lines of this issue. When coaches are leading drills and kids are lined up, sometimes shenanigans unfold. We've heard it all, "Billy keeps touching me! ... Susie cut in line! ... I don't want to play defense." This is when we need the more experienced players to be leaders, to encourage their teammates in working as a team! When kids feel empowered to take ownership, they seem to step up to the challenge more often. Developing leaders early should always be a priority!
So again, this is why we need to "Rise by lifting others!"