There are news articles filled with examples of youth sports gone wrong, from parents kicked out of games for unruly behavior to coaches tripping young athletes from opposing teams. These incidents are occurring every week nationwide and it is evident that many adults have lost focus on what youth sports is all about: learning about teamwork and perseverance; adopting a healthy, active lifestyle; and, most importantly, having fun and making friends. Don’t get lumped in with individuals ruining youth sports. The National Alliance for Youth Sports www.nays.org has developed a Parents Code of Ethics that is listed on their web site. It is reproduced below because it encourages the same values we wish our programs to develop. We encourage parents, grandparents and all adults supporting youth sports to take the pledge below.
I hereby pledge to provide positive support, care, and encouragement for my child and other children participating in youth sports by following this Parents’ Code of Ethics:
- I will encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all players, coaches, and officials at every game, practice or other youth sports event.
- I will place the emotional and physical well being of my child ahead of my personal desire to win.
- I will insist that my child play in a safe and healthy environment.
- I will require that my child’s coach be trained in the responsibilities of being a youth sports coach and that the coach upholds the Coaches’ Code of Ethics.
- I will support coaches and officials working with my child, in order to encourage a positive and enjoyable experience for all.
- I will demand a sports environment for my child that is free from drugs, tobacco, and alcohol and will refrain from their use at all youth sports events.
- I will remember that the game is for youth – not adults.
- I will do my very best to make youth sports fun for my child.
- I will ask my child to treat other players, coaches, fans, and officials with respect regardless of race, sex, creed, or ability.
- I will help my child enjoy the youth sports experience by doing whatever I can, such as being a respectful fan, assisting with coaching, or providing transportation.
- I will read the National Standards for Youth Sports and do what I can to help all youth sports organizations implement and enforce them.