Bullying has no place in sport (Part 2)

November 18, 2014
Young girls playing baseball

I would like to reiterate yesterday’s blog message that when the True Sport Principles (Go For It, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Include Everyone, Play Fair, Give Back and Stay Healthy) are present in sport, the outcome will be a positive sport experience. Too often though, coaches, parents and players will pay only lip service to these principles and in doing so, create a foothold for bullying to occur.  If, on the other hand, coaches, parents and players actively support these principles, bullying will not be tolerated and it won't be able to take root in sport.

To create such an environment in sport means coaches need to review their own coaching behaviour to ensure they are not unwittingly using bullying behaviour as a coaching tactic. It means coaches have to speak to their players and parents about bullying and firmly establish a zero tolerance policy around bullying; a policy that has significant and effective consequences for anyone caught bullying any member on a team. Parents also need to be vigilant and speak to their children about the dangers and harm of bullying along with the importance of informing an adult or authority figure of any suspected cases of bullying on a team.

And the players themselves all have an obligation, and duty, to ensure there is no bullying on their team. We know from research that all too often, peers who witness bullying passively watch it happen, or worse still, join in. Standing up to bullying means reporting it to adults in charge. The True Sport Agreement offers the perfect activity for players to engage in to establish the right anti-bullying environment on their team.

If you are involved in a sports team as a coach, parent or player and you haven’t discussed the prevention of bullying, then you are giving bullying a chance to happen. Stand up and speak out against bullying. Bullying Awareness Week affords you the perfect opportunity to do so.

For educational tools and resources on bullying, please visit www.prevnet.ca