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How Bullying Affects Athletes

Posted on August 23 2017

Bullying in sports

 

Quick Guide to Dealing With Bullying in Sports

 

Bullying is increasingly prevalent in our society. It can be experienced anywhere, from social media to locker rooms. Teens and children are bombarded with insults, rumors, and drama at a rate that can discourage them from participating in sports activities. As far as the team at HKYSOX is concerned, bullying has no place in sports. Here is our guide to preventing and resolving bullying.

 

How Bullying Affects Athletes

 

Athletes are affected deeply by bullying across the board. It doesn't matter whether it happens in high school teams or professional sports. The consequences can be brutal. Bullying can cause athletes to do the following:

 

  • Lose focus
  • Play tentatively instead of aggressively
  • Develop anxiety or depression
  • Drop out of competitions
  • Quit sports

 

Young athletes often experience bullying if they are short, overweight, or are more introverted. This is unacceptable behavior for any sport. Too many athletes feel ashamed about being bullied and don't discuss it. There doesn't have to be a stigma surrounding bullying in sports. It's a real problem that deserves concrete solutions. Coaches and parents are on the frontlines of this issue.

 

Coaches Lead the Way

 

When it comes to creating a positive atmosphere amongst teammates, no one is more responsible than coaches. Coaches set the tone of the team. They need to communicate to their athletes that everyone must contribute to an atmosphere of support, respect, and unity. There should be no toleration of bullying from coaches.

 

Coaches need to communicate clearly and affirmatively with their teams. Showing leadership from the beginning is crucial to setting the standard for young athletes. Making sure that every teammate understands the impact of their behavior is imperative to the cohesiveness of the team.

 

Mentally Training Athletes

 

Competing in sports isn't something that only needs physical training. Young athletes need to learn how to become mentally tough as well. Mental preparedness makes a big difference when an athlete encounters a bully. Coaches and parents alike should teach young athletes to appear confident on the outside when facing bullies so that they bully doesn't feel powerful. Young athletes should also be taught to take the high road¬–combat the teasing remarks with an offer to shoot some hoops later, for example.

 

How Parents Can Help

 

Parents need to be active and helpful when their child is being bullied. They can especially assist their children in how to respond to bullies. Parents can teach their children how to respond with friendliness. For instance, parents can give their kids certain one-liners to respond to the bully. They may give their children advice of how to approach bullies in a friendly manner. Athletes can strike up a friendly conversation about sports with bullies instead of coming across as scared and reactive. When bullies see their targets take the high road, they will be taken off guard and the behavior will likely stop.

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