Many youth sports teams are requiring parents and coaches to sign Set A Good Example (S.A.G.E.) pledges at the beginning of the season. In this pledge, coaches and parents agree to promote sportsmanship, respect the opponents and respect the refs. But is it ever OK to argue with the ref?
Almost every coaching class teaches you to never argue with referees. Primarily because it sets a poor example for the kids on your team and their parents… and their emotions and energy tend to mirror the coach. So on the surface it seems completely reasonable to avoid arguing with the ref.
But what happens when the kids’ safety is on the line? I had the unfortunate experience of being part of a very competitive soccer game in cold, wind and heavy rain… all the ingredients for lots of injuries. Yet, the referee was letting the kids play through foul after foul, even when the sideline refs had their flags raised. This is a coaches’ dilemma: Stay quiet and respect the ref or break your S.A.G.E. pledge and get verbal to protect your players.
I believe kids’ safety is priority number one but I’d love to hear how you’ve handled this situation. Please click here to share your comments or first hand experience and we will share your perspectives in our next newsletter. Have a safe Fall sports season and please try iSport360 so coaches and team parents can share objective player feedback.
Ian Goldberg is the Founder and CEO of iSport360, a new SportsTech venture bringing objective goals and fair evaluations to the parents, coaches and players in the chaotic world of youth sports.