Skip to main content

Sportsmanship Is Not Dead

ScreamingDez Bryant doesn’t care what people think about his sideline screaming, so why should you?

In 2014, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant confessed that he isn’t ashamed of his behavior on the sidelines – screaming at teammates and coaches – because he doesn’t see anything inappropriate about voicing his opinions throughout the game.

Unfortunately, antics like screaming from the sideline aren’t reserved for professional sporting events.

All too often, boisterous altercations and unsportsmanlike screams are being called out at youth sports games.

What many parents don’t realize is that shouting advice from the sidelines can actually disrupt the children during a crucial development period in their athletic careers.

The most valuable athletes are those who can quickly and strategically choose what to do with the ball – whether it be dribble, pass, shoot, etc. But how can we expect those split-second, decision-making skills to develop if young players are being told what to do from the sidelines when they’re first learning the sport?

As children are developing during the earliest stage of their sport, it’s essential that they are allowed to explore the game on their own terms. Allowing young players to discover their movements as they see fit will create more liberated and creative players in the long term.

In order to help young players learn a sport at their own pace, practice appropriate sideline etiquette by showing your enthusiasm and support through positive feedback. Jody Brylinsky, Ph.D., a professor of sports studies at Western Michigan University, even goes so far as to encourage parents to cheer positive comments to both teams, allowing the children to witness support for everybody’s efforts.

To assist the renewed emphasis placed on sportsmanship amongst players, coaches, and spectators, Demosphere’s Sportsmanship Reports allow referees to submit a rating for each game for the coach, players, and spectators from each team as part of the League Scheduling System.

Want to share your opinion about yelling from sporting event spectators? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

Kris Baker

Kris Baker is the President of Demosphere and has been serving the Youth Sports Community since 2006.