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Children in sports: Shouting and name calling is common

November 1st, 2007 by Janus Sejersen Laursen and Alexander Borch Nielsen · 2 Comments

Yelling and beating of children is often related to third world countries and dictatorships. Never the less it is a daily life for many children in sports. According to Richard Bailey, professor and director of the Centre for Physical Education Research, Roehampton University, United Kingdom, many children find themselves in unpleasant situations on the football pitches and in the sport arenas around the world due to harsh demands from adult coaches and teachers.

- My research shows that a lot of them are yelled at. I know this from a lot of people in sports I know and from my own observations as a coach and advisor to the British sports world, says Richard Bailey.

In Richard Baileys view China has become a target for child abuse stories as well as Africa and South America are known for trafficking. But in the English culture there are problems as well.

- In the Anglo-Saxon world there is a macho attitude in sport. There is an idea based on “it is tough to be in sports.” We hear shouting and name calling in e.g. American football and Canadian ice hockey. Words like don’t smile, gay and you girl are being used to push children, explains Bailey.

Bailey does not see sport as a universal good contribution to children. The good values are very dependant on the coaches to avoid antisocial and aggressive behaviour. He believes that the international sport organisations fail on this responsibility.

- Abuse of children is not seen as a problem in the organisations. They often react with denial or saying it is a part of sport. Like Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, said when confronted: “It is blowing it out of proportion.”
- But the sport education system has to change. You can’t change children. You can try but at some point you will discover that it is wrong and you must change the way you teach, says Richard Bailey.

Tags: Conference News · Theme: Children in sport

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