How Should You Respond to Poor Officiating in Youth Sports?


The following excerpt from Volleyball Mom’s Survival Guide, by Janis B.
Meredith of JBM Thinks Sportsparenting, speaks specifically to moms of volleyball players, but the truths are for every parent who has felt frustration at the officiating at their child’s game.

It is your job to offer positive support from the stands or sidelines, whether or not you agree with what is happening on the court. That often means you will have to show support to the people wearing stripes.

Sometimes you will be outraged at the officials. You will see calls you dislike, calls that very well may be wrong. You will get angry at sloppy officiating. But the question is what will you do about it? What is the best way for you to handle this, for the good of your daughter and her team?

Here are your options:

1. Scream at the referee, using vulgarity and  rude words and calling them incompetent. It’s funny how we are so bold to yell things from the stands that we would never say face to face. When you do this, you are setting the example that it’s OK to yell at people and call them unprintable names, and talk about their mothers in a not-very-nice way.

2. Say nothing, laugh or shrug it off, and move on. This could show that you’re very mature, or it could mean that you don’t give a darn about sports.

3. Commiserate with the people sitting next to you about the bad call.
This may make you feel better and give you a common bond with other sports parents, but it also might make you sound like a whiner if you do it all the time.How Should You Respond to Poor Officiating in Youth Sports?
4. Approach the official after the game and express your opinion about his calls. However, this only works as a venting mechanism. I tried it and I’m not real sure it was a mature example for my kids.

5. Say nothing to the referee, but blame the loss entirely on him. When you express this to your kids, they will get the idea that blaming others for problems is a perfectly acceptable way to get out of shouldering responsibility. I know there are those rare occasions when it really might seem true, but honestly, we know that wins and losses are a result of how teams play during the whole game.

I think I’ve done every one of the above at some point during my twenty-one years as a sports mom. And I have to tell you: None of them made any difference in the game.

So, how should you treat the officials?

With respect, plain and simple. As you would want your kids to treat any human, especially an authority figure. Remember, your kids see your behavior as permission to follow suit.

And quite honestly, acting like a jerk never made things better.