Etiquette in Youth Sports

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Etiquette in Youth Sports

By Estela Camacho

Have you experienced sideline coaching by other parents? It can be very distracting when you are trying to watch your child’s game. While most parents try to keep comments positive, we do have some parents that are overly passionate about their child’s play and tend to call out their own child if mistakes are made. Most of the time, children already know they have made a mistake and yelling at them from the stands does not help the child move on to the next play.

Yelling and screaming at coaches, referees and the players of either team is neither productive nor acceptable and it should not be tolerated. The Danbury Athletic Youth Organization has an Adult Code of Conduct that parents, legal guardians and participants must sign before the season begins. The document states you will conduct yourself in a respectable manner at your children’s games. Most youth leagues and athletic organizations have these forms to make parents accountable for their actions and behavior.

Yelling and screaming at things that go on during a game can be seen as either intimidation of an opponent or motivation for your players. Unfortunately, it can be viewed as more of an annoyance than motivation. Good sportsmanship should be displayed on and off the field, whether your team is winning or losing. You may not be happy about what is occurring on the field or play but we must remember to let the coaches do their job and give them your full support.

Try to remember that every child has different athletic abilities and it is not up to you to criticize your child or anyone else’s child. Perhaps, instead of focusing so much on 1or 2 players, we can cheer for the team as a whole. Let’s not forget the referees, as they have a job and are trying their best to officiate the game. We all know that there could be a bad call but it is not a parent’s place to argue with the referee. They make objective decisions based on what they see and are usually closer to action than you are.

Parents must understand that they can bring a lot of positive energy to boost the team. Or they can make unnecessary comments, and no child wants their parent to be a part of that. If you have concerns, speak to your coach privately and don’t get other parents involved. It is important to consider that all coaches are volunteers and they have their own philosophies. Some coaches are focused and want kids to win while others want the kids to have fun.

All coaches have the best interest of your child in mind and they know that each child learns at their own pace. Coaches find parents’ sideline coaching difficult because most of the time, a parent’s instruction conflicts with the coaches’ instruction. So next time that you are at your child’s game and you get all fired up to the point that you are moving from one end of the field to the other, consider stopping, sitting down and just enjoy watching the game. When your child comes off the field, ask them how they felt about the game and if they enjoyed playing the game. Listen to what they really have to say.

The Danbury Youth Athletic Organization continues to hold parents, coaches and players accountable for proper behavior and good sportsmanship. We must constantly remind ourselves that coaches and children are out there trying their best. We should not be as concerned about the outcome of the game but hope the kids are learning and having fun.


This article was written by Estela Camacho, Danbury Athletic Youth Organization (DAYO) secretary. For more information, visit, or contact Estela at 203-530-2457 or



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September 26, 2016

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