Yelling from the sidelines in a negative way is not OK – we all know that. But as part of #shooshforkids week, we also want to highlight how negative conversations about sport can have an impact.
We all make mistakes, particularly when we’re learning – and all umpires on junior AFL games are still learning. Unfortunately, there have been examples of young umpires giving up because they’re afraid to make mistakes, or because of criticism they’ve received.
That’s sad enough. But what if it is not yelling? What if it is just complaining about umpires in conversations with the players?
Blaming an official for a result is an excuse and modelling disrespect for authority. There are thousands of decisions and actions made during a game – by players and umpires – focusing on just those made by the umpires, or just one decision as a turning point in the game – teaches players that is OK for them to abdicate responsibility for their own actions.
So, what can be done about poor umpiring decisions? If there’s something that needs urgent attention, the team manager (and only the team manager) can approach the ground manager, who can then decide whether it is something that needs to be discussed with the umpires immediately. Under no circumstances should a parent or team official approach the umpires directly.
Coaches also have access to a form to provide constructive feedback on umpiring. This allows umpire coaches to know what issues need to be addressed at umpire training.
The other team
We’ve all come across teams or Clubs that have a reputation for being “dirty”. But are they really? Or are they kids who are still learning the game and making mistakes? Are we focusing on those mistakes, but forgiving our own? Is the push in the back by an opponent deliberately dirty, while the push in the back by our player just a mistake?
We may not like an opposing team culture, but we need to remember that all players are still learning, and that team officials are volunteers doing their best for the love of the sport.
Don’t forget, these children may one day play WITH each other – kids can change clubs, play in the same development/representative teams, the same academies etc. Let’s focus on building positive relationships in football!
As above, if there are issues that need urgent attention during a game, the team manager can raise these with the ground manager. If you want to lodge a formal complaint regarding another Club, contact our Club. If warranted, we’ll take it further on your behalf.