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  • Webinar Recap: Anthony DiCicco and Brenda Hilton on Sportsmanship Starts on the Sidelines

Webinar Recap: Anthony DiCicco and Brenda Hilton on Sportsmanship Starts on the Sidelines

Thank you to everyone that joined us for our Live Webinar a few weeks ago. If you were unable to join us, here is a recap of a couple points that were discussed.

You can access the full hour-long Webinar on our education platform, the SoccerParentResourceCenter.com now - hit the button in the sidebar below to sign up for a three-day free trial.

Enjoy this clip below!


Understanding a Referee's Perspective to Minimize Distracting Sideline Behavior


TRANSCRIPT:

Brenda Hilton:
One of the things that I tell people all the time, and someday I'm going to have a commercial, I'm going to have a PSA that does this, but if you take every fan or every parent that is at a game, maybe do it at a practice and line them up around the field on the sidelines, and you have some play in soccer that can always be construed as one way or the other, and have them look at that play-


Anthony DiCicco:
Handball, yeah.


Brenda Hilton:
Yeah. And because the person on this end is not going to say it the same as the person on this end. So get them to understand that everybody has a different view of the game and everybody's going to say the calls are 50%, right? But the more that you can get them in the element of what it's like to be an official... I'm not a soccer expert, but I think that if you did some exercises with the parents that showed, hey, you didn't see that the same way and here's two referees that are saying that this was the call and you're saying it was something else, it's because we don't see it the same way. We see nothing the same way.


Anthony DiCicco:
So the other piece to that, I think that is really fascinating, we talk about it with players in our Sideline Project course, is we have supportive behavior, distracting behavior, and hostile behavior. And the supportive behavior, we want to encourage and continue to support. The hostile behavior is easy to identify. It's a lot of what we're talking about here where we're dealing with moments of abuse or a coach overreacting to a mistake that a player may make or a parent overreacting in that moment. And the other piece that we talk about being one of the biggest issues, again, because most parents are level-headed and well-intentioned, is that distracting behavior. Shoot, pass to Johnny, whatever it may be.


Anthony DiCicco:
And I think we see this with officials too, where coaches and spectators are shoutingat the official to make such and such call. And it may be the call that they were going to make regardless, or maybe they were waiting to see if an advantage developed. And now you're just creating a distracting moment, which makes it substantially harder for the official to do their job. So I think sometimes we see the hostile component of it, but I also think that there's this element to it that is not malicious, it's not malintentioned, but it also is still making the referee's job substantially harder.


Brenda Hilton:
And I think one of the closing thoughts I had, and everybody can take this and it'll be on social media in April, but better fan behavior equals better environment for all. And that should be all of our goal.


Creating A Unifying Governing Body to Combat Sideline Behavior

TRANSCRIPT:

Brenda Hilton:

To Jack's point, the governing bodies, yes, have to look at this and see if they can do something about it, but also the local organizations, the soccer clubs, they have to get together and get on the same page. The problem is, I think that even those groups can't get on the same page 'cause you have a board of 10 members and one of them may be like, "No, I'm not going to throw a parent out. They're paying $2,000 for their child to be on this team. We're not going to do that." So we're having a hard time getting on the same page in any of these entities. So Jack, I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you on that, but I would go to the organization itself and say, look, we got to do something with this.


Anthony DiCicco:
Well, it seems that the solution has to be vertically integrated. It has to be from the league, the state association, the national governing body level through to the clubs, down through the directors of those clubs and the leadership within that club to the coaches and the parents to unify around the benefits and the opportunities that we are creating for these kids. Because right now, I think you could have, and here in Utah, our governing body has for a few years now, instituted a zero tolerance policy. And their zero tolerance policy is if there's an incident of referee abuse, not only is the perpetrator banned from the sidelines, but all spectators for that team are banned from the sidelines for the duration of the season.


And I have mixed feelings about these zero tolerance policies because where do you go from there? So the next time that they're on the sideline, maybe it was a different child's team, if they're continuing to perpetuate that same behavior, we haven't really solved it, we've temporarily put a halt to it, but it's not getting at the root causes of why that's happening in the first place. And I want to talk a little bit about this and about the context by which adults come to these games because one of the things that we're working on at Soccer Parenting is a return to good standing course where when parents or coaches are thrown out of games or teams go through those types of really negative moments, that there's a pathway back, that it isn't just fines and suspensions and bans, but it's actually about engagement and education and finding a ay to turn these, for lack of a better word, perpetrators into advocates in this space.

Anthony DiCicco:
I know, using another baseball example, there was a youth baseball league in New Jersey that when parents get thrown out of a game, they have to be an assistant to the umpire for some games. I don't know if that's the solution or not, but I applaud those innovative approaches to trying to flip the script.


Brenda Hilton:
So a couple of points on what you just said, the zero tolerance policy, I have a concern with that because you're punishing the 95 to 96% of the parents that have been good and they paid the same amount of money. You're saying that all parents, there's nobody on the sideline?


Anthony DiCicco:
Correct.


Brenda Hilton:
Yeah. And so that one is hard for me. That one is a little bit tougher for me. So I think that we have to figure out what is the right, I said secret sauce earlier? What's the secret sauce that we can get everybody on the same page? And clearly we understand that people have a bad day here and there. No, my dog died today. Whatever it is, you're going to have a bad day and you might come to a game and yell at a referee. Okay, we can do that. We can handle that to a point, but it goes back to conversations, policies, holding people accountable.

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