Ugly Spectator Behaviour

HDNA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for our players, officials, parents, and spectators of netball.  Our aim is to ensure our players are provided the opportunity to develop to their full potential while participating in an encouraging and supportive setting.  Unfortunately, the start of the 2022 season has seen a number of instances of ugly spectator behaviour and un-sportsman like conduct, by some people during the Saturday competitions and at HDNA representative games.

As clearly stated in our various Codes of Conduct and policy documents, all members are reminded that HDNA will not tolerate intimidating, aggressive, threatening or any other inappropriate behaviour by officials, players, their families or their friends while attending a game or event that HDNA hosts or participates in.   Action to address such behaviour has and will continue to be taken seriously by the association.  Furthermore, in the interests of player and official safety and welfare, the consequences may include not only removing the perpetrator permanently, but also the player/s from a team.

To that end, we will also take the opportunity to remind parents/guardians of why parents must stop coaching from the sidelines.

Why Parents Must Stop Coaching from The Sidelines….

Every person who attends a game can fill only one of these four roles.

  • If you’re the coach, you coach the team.
  • If you’re a player, you play the game.
  • If you’re an umpire, you officiate the game.
  • If you’re a spectator, you watch the game.

If you’re not the team’s coach, you have no right to coach from the sidelines.

Put yourself in your child’s shoes for a minute…

Before the game and during interval, the coach will talk to the team and may give each player specific instructions to give the team the best chance of success.   And then as soon as a player gets out on the court, parents start screaming out conflicting instructions that go against the team’s strategy and the player’s role on the team.

This leaves the child in a tricky situation…

  • Who should they listen to?
  • Which adult do they choose to make happy?
  • Which adult do they choose to disappoint?

Players are forced to choose.  This will lead to poor team performance and could even lead to the player receiving less time on the court.  When a parent screams out instructions from the sideline, they take away the learning opportunity from the player.

When adults are constantly feeding players this “do this, do that” information, players can quickly start to rely on their input instead of thinking for themselves.  Instead, parents should sit back and allow their child to make decisions.

If a coach is willing to volunteer their time to coach your son or daughter, please let them do the coaching.  A parent screaming out instructions from the sideline just makes their role even more difficult than it already is.  If you absolutely need to voice your opinion all game, wait a few months and put your hand up to coach the team next season.

Coaching youth sports takes up a large chunk of time and to do it well is much harder than it looks.  Appreciate and respect those willing to devote their time and effort.  Just like players, many coaches are still learning.  Stop expecting your child’s coach to be perfect.  Stop sitting on the sidelines shaking your head and rolling your eyes.  We have to do our best to support our coaches as they gain experience and develop their coaching knowledge.  Everyone has to start somewhere.

A parent’s role as a spectator is very simple…watch the game and encourage the players on the court.  As soon as you stand out from the crowd, you’re doing something wrong.  When parents are yelling out from the sidelines, they’re making each player’s youth sporting experience less enjoyable.

Parents need to take a step back and do a better job of understanding their role.  And remember…your kids aren’t going to be playing youth sports forever. Stand back, enjoy the game, and let the coaches do the coaching.

Reference: Play by the Rules


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