On the Other Hand: Sometimes (Parental) Silence is Golden

Hi Readers — Here’s a piece about something I’d never heard of, “Silent Sunday.” (Of course, maybe it would be hard to hear about something silent.) The post about it comes from Cindy Wilson, communications director at Playworks, nhbreefrhh
an organization that provides play and physical activity to low-income schools in urban cities. Playworks is hosting its  Play On Conference in New York October 12 – 13, bringing together some of the country’s top experts on recess, play and physical activity. (I’m going!) Wilson is also the assistant coach of a U12 girls soccer team.  Here’s her piece:


Walk past a soccer field on any given game day and you’ll be overwhelmed with parents shouting instructions from the sidelines, screaming directions to their kids, telling the players to pass the ball, shoot, run fast! The funny thing is that if you ask the players what they hear, all they’ll tell you is that they hear a bunch of parents shouting. Ask them if it helps, they will snicker and say no. Does it sometimes embarass them? You bet.

Next weekend, September 25 and 26, it’s going to be a bit different in Oakland, California. Parents, coaches, managers and players on the sidelines for Rockridge Soccer League games will be doing something unusual. They will be quiet.

As part of its annual Silent Saturday and Silent Sunday, everyone on the sidelines is asked to remain silent during games, while players on the field are allowed and are encouraged to speak to one another. No instructions, no directions, no cheering (yes, you can clap if your team scores), no call-outs (except for substitutions) for two beautiful game days next weekend. The only sound will be that of the players doing what they signed up to do ~ playing soccer, running hard, working as a team and figuring it out on their own.

Silence is golden. — C.W.


85 Responses to On the Other Hand: Sometimes (Parental) Silence is Golden

  1. Christine September 22, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    Eh. If I yell ‘RUN’ at the Steelers on my TV, I don’t think it makes me a helicopter mom to yell it to my son from the stands.

  2. angelsandurchinsblog September 22, 2010 at 1:55 am #

    I have just forwarded this post to my husband. The noise he made watching his nephews play football made me wince, let alone them. Hate to think what it will be like once his sons get old enough for competitive sports.

  3. Christine September 22, 2010 at 2:12 am #

    How do you watch football withOUT yelling?

  4. RareRoastBeef September 22, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    Christine, I must respectfully disagree. Steelers fans should remain silent at all times – most notably, I hope you all keep quiet during the game against Buffalo later this season. The poor Bills don’t need any more distractions… 😉

  5. OmegaMom September 22, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    I think this would be weird. What’s wrong with cheering?! I know there’s a boatload of parents out there calling out hovering instructions, but…but…I’d sure hate to be a kid out on the field, having run an awesome play in whatever kind of game, only to have…


    …great her/his feat.

    What a great way to instill excitement and pride–not.

    Mostly I’m all in with free-ranging, but this? Nope.

  6. Dot Khan September 22, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    Being deaf in one ear after 25 years of professional work with audio makes me more aware there is a difference between being loud and being clearly heard. Multiple loud sounds at once just becomes noise. Even if anyone in the crowd recognized someone’s voice, they wouldn’t be able to pick out what any single person is actually saying.

    Have someone film the game from the players perspective and then have the parents listen to what things sound like.

  7. Nicola September 22, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    @Omegamom: Amen.

    My daughter plays soccer and I couldn’t imagine what it’s like to have silence. Normally I’m the one that shows up to a dead silent game, the girls looking exhausted and ready to give up, and all it takes is a little cheering (note: not coaching/instructing) to get them really motivated. We shout the team name, “C’mon Blue! You can do it!” and other assorted things and our kids respond and seem to truly enjoy having their “team” on their side. Afterwards we congratulate the girls and they congratulate eachother.

    Silence? At a game of soccer/football? C’mon… that’s what you do for golf and you see how exciting that is.

  8. David Sanders September 22, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    I don’t know about this one. I’d like to see it in action some time.

    When I played soccer I enjoyed the noise and cheering of the crowd when we had made a good play or made a goal. Sure we couldn’t understand most people but their reaction matched ours.

    I also learned to take the cheers for the opposing team and make them my inspiration to become better.

    Sure i remember the names of the overbearing parents but they were a lot fewer than the supportive parents.

    Now that my kids play I have no problem cheering the whole team and feeling excited with/for them. I also don’t mind telling the another parent that maybe they’re getting a little overboard and they really aren’t playing for Manchester United yet.

    It should be a learning experience for both player and parent.

  9. socialjerk September 22, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    I remember my dad and me being extremely embarrassed at one of my basketball games when I was a kid, because one of my teammates mothers was stomping, cheering, and screaming for us to play defense, when we were already completely blowing out the other team. Didn’t seem to be in the right spirit for 6th grade girls’ CYO basketball.

  10. Cindy Wilson September 22, 2010 at 2:37 am #

    I just want to clarify something. Applause ~ clapping, wooting… IS welcome and encouraged to support the teams. Shouting, yelling, calling out individual names, instructions … is not. It’s not just dead silence. What would be the fun in that?

  11. Christina September 22, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    Those parents must have really been out of control for such a drastic measure. I’m sure that, all too soon, I will do my own bits of cheering from the sidelines (the boys are now 3), but I’m hoping to limit it to the occasional “go team!” sort of thing.

    I do feel compelled to note, though, as someone who consistently played played sports from elementary school up through high school, that the only things I paid attention to on the field (or the court) were: 1) what I was doing, 2) what my fellow team-mates were doing, 3) my coach(es), and 4) the other team. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me whether the stands were noisy or silent, because the only thing I was paying attention to was the game.

  12. Alice September 22, 2010 at 2:56 am #

    My son has played soccer for 5 years and I now coach my daughter’s first grade soccer team. Each season we have a “Silent Sidelines” weekend, and I think it is glorious! Applause and limited cheering is encouraged when appropriate for game play, but parents are asked to refrain from calling specific names or instructions, and generally to remain quiet. Having parents be quiet and just watch their kids play is a relief on numerous fronts. As a coach, it allows me to talk to my players without yelling to be heard (remember, these are 6 year olds…sometimes they need to be reminded which way to run!). And some parents really cannot help but yell constant instructions to their children, which is distracting (kids look to the sidelines to find or respond to their parents) and downright annoying. Applaud and encourage your kids by all means, but remember, kids should be out there having fun, their coaches should be able to communicate clearly and easily with them, and their parents should be able to sit quietly for at least one weekend and just watch them be kids.

  13. Bose September 22, 2010 at 3:11 am #

    I think it’s easy to underestimate the value of silence as a parent.

    Raising 5 kids, my mother was pretty gregarious and social with all of us, but there were also times when turned to near-silence even in the midst of chaos. If we were looking for her to referee a dispute and she mostly ignored us, it meant we had to work it out ourselves. If one of us was bringing our latest, greatest idea or accomplishment to her and she was nonplussed, she wasn’t rejecting the idea or accomplishment, it meant that she was not quite available at the moment… but would be again later.

    That’s a lesson I still value. In the middle of discovering a new joy, it’s no less joyful if the first person I share it with doesn’t respond in kind. If I’m struggling with something, and I share it with a loved one but don’t get an empathetic or supportive response, that’s OK. It’s my responsibility to move forward, meeting my needs elsewhere.

  14. Soccer Dad September 22, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    As a class IV ref and a parent, I’m often appalled at some of the sideline behavior from spectators even at the rec level. Too often parents scream at their kids, challenge the ref, coach over the coach and generally disrespect the game.

    When you’re on the field with the kids, all you hear is noise and screams in the background. The kids can’t often are distracted and they can’t even hear each other. One parent screams over the coach, and their poor child doesn’t know who to listen to. Here’s a series of clips from the British soccer folks that are a pretty accurate example of what it’s like on the field. As well as how to change that behavior. http://www.thefa.com/Respectguide/

  15. Steve September 22, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    OmegaMom, said:

    “…but…I’d sure hate to be a kid out on the field, having run an awesome play in whatever kind of game, only to have…

    Sounds like you think the primary reason athletes play the game is for the cheering. Using that rationale, a student works hard to get a pat on the back and compliments on a job well done. Yes, some do. But…

    You might find this book of interest:

    “Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes”

    Read about it at Amazon: http://amzn.to/amyYDl

    …great her/his feat.

    What a great way to instill excitement and pride–not.

  16. Beth Kimberly September 22, 2010 at 3:20 am #

    I love this idea! My least favorite part of the game as a child was all the yelling and instruction on the sideline. I was out there to PLAY and have fun. The instructions yelled from the sideline often distracted and frustrated me.

    One day for players to just enjoy the game out of an entire season is very reasonable. Children are then able to acknowledge how good they feel when making a great play and not just how loud the crowd cheers. Coaches and fans can reflect on the play later discussing the game with the players; then the game becomes a learning experience and challenges can be addressed in the next practice.

  17. Steve September 22, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    Okay, my post above had a fragment after the Amazon link that didn’t make sense.

    Oh, the joy of posting to a blog before making very very sure your comment is exactly the way you want it.

  18. pentamom September 22, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    I’m thinking that even though silence wouldn’t be desirable or workable as a general practice at kids’ soccer games, it might well be a good “discipline” to do it occasionally. No cheering or calling out, not because cheering or calling out are bad, but because it might be good to get a sense of what it’s like not to open your yap every time it occurs to you. Maybe, just maybe, doing this occasionally would turn down the temperature on some of the more obnoxious yelling that goes on, as people occasionally take a break from making as much noise as they can.

    That is, I don’t know if this is a GREAT idea or if I’d really want to do it myself, but it doesn’t seem all that bad and like it could possibly be good.

  19. deena September 22, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    “Experts” wanting to quantify and qualify play and remove all possible risk of physical or psychological injury is a large part of how we got into the mess with kids in the first place.

    Discouraging parents from showing up by making rule after rule after rule sounds like a great way to assure that “play and recess” experts have jobs security in the future.

    We’re moving away from micromanaging children because we now recognise that it is detrimental, but micromanaging parents will work really well and won’t be bad at all?

    Seriously? I don’t think so.

    * We need to stop hovering over kids but *start* hovering over parents, telling them how to show enthusiasm at games?
    * Parents need more rules and more supervision in how they interact with their kids?
    * Parents now need calendars to tell them when them which days are marked as appropriate to cheer?
    * Parents need to be taught (en mass) how to “appropriately” express themselves in front of their kids?

    I don’t believe any of this for even a moment.

    This is a really, really bad idea.

    I listen to other parents yell and scream their heads off every single week. I’m a naturally quiet person. I sit or stand on the sidelines and watch while our daughter plays. I tell her how proud I am after the game. I don’t yell or scream. I’m not a sports fan, but I’m a huge fan of my daughter. As loud and obnoxious as some other parents can be, I’d rather see them yelling and screaming than not showing up at all.

  20. Andy September 22, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    BRAVO! Now if we could just make this a permanent requirement at all kid games, maybe the little ones will enjoy it more.

  21. Renata Bowers September 22, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    OK…that is a GREAT idea!!! I plan to bring it up in our town.
    Little League parents have gotten way out of hand in recent years.

  22. DMT September 22, 2010 at 5:00 am #

    To those who are saying this is a bad idea, keep in mind that it is only going to be for ONE DAY. It’s not like there will be a permanent ban on cheering for the kids.

    And really, is it that big of a deal to keep quiet at your kids games for ONE DAY?

  23. Arianne September 22, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    Look, to me this just seems like a great way to give the people involved some perspective. I’m sure nobody really intends to micromanage cheers and team enthusiasm long-term, but hopefully people will see how nice it can be when everybody chills out a little bit. Just kind of a good illustration, I think.

  24. Mandy September 22, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    Man, I’m one of the loudest ones there! What the heck does this have to do with free range?

  25. MMR September 22, 2010 at 6:27 am #

    That’s really lovely. As Arianne said, a good illustration.

    I get the idea of parents wanting to yell stuff at their kids, but the connection to free range is pretty obvious here, and it’s worthwhile to consider. It’s useful to have a coach/parent say, “Pass to your teammate” or something as a critique of what you’re unaware of. But telling kids what to do throughout is a bit obnoxious, even just done. There’s a big disconnect from the sidelines and actually being on the field– when you’re on the field you’re trying things out and from the sidelines you’re seeing things with better perspective but a really disconnected perspective from the person playing. It’s not bad, necessarily, but it can be distracting and signify mistrust and ineptitude. For example, a parent yelling a certain order (like ‘go around’ or pass the ball’) might seem good from the adult perspective but it’s not what the kid has already planned and committed to doing, so it comes off as irrelevant. Or it’s disruptive– you’re a kid in the zone trying to do something and now someone’s telling you to do something after-the-fact.

    Sometimes it’s good to have that interference– learning to play soccer means learning to be cognizant of the team, and might require a reminder from the coach. But playing a game of soccer and being able to experiment with things for yourself without receiving advice/commands from adults on the sidelines is so absolutely at the heart of free play.

  26. Larry Harrison September 22, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    I can definitely see the wisdom in this. You see, the problem is this–it’s gotten way beyond crazy often-times in the stands with the parents being so demanding of their child to do everything perfect, when a child ought to not be under so much pressure to do anything but play in a situation like this.

    I could not at all be the coach of a little league team, the organization would probably fire me in 10 seconds because the minute a parent came in & tried to tell me how to coach their child, I’d tell them to go sit in the stands and shut up.

    Save the hard-core cheers for professional & college games, and MAYBE high-school as well–anything else, there is some serious lightening up which needs to take place. I applaud this.

  27. Chris September 22, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    Someone asked what this has to do with free range kids… Everything! It’s interesting looking at a lot of the comments. Those who don’t like the idea are speaking for themselves as parents. They want to yell and call out their child are speaking for them and see their silence as taking away from their authority. Those who get it and think it’s worth a try are speaking as kids. I think the interesting perspective would be to ask the players if they would rather the adults on the sideline just cheer for good plays and keep quiet the rest of the time, or if they prefer getting directions from any adult on the sideline who can yell loud enough to reach them.

    But instead a few pretend to speak for the kids and once again redirect the decision making and responsibility and independence away from them.

    While some players have the discipline and focus to tune everyone out, that’s rare. I’ve been at way too many soccer games where the player has the ball and the parent is yelling at them to shoot while the coach is telling them to pass or dribble. The poor kid doesn’t know what to do; s/he wants to please them both. And the game play suffers, the teamwork deteriorates and the kid doesn’t gain any confidence.

    If we can just keep quiet for one game and let the kids do the playing, they might actually make good decisions AND learn something. And maybe the adults would, too.

  28. Beth September 22, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    All of the games in my area that are pre-high-school level don’t even have “stands”. The parents are sitting or standing on the sidelines of the game, basically right on top of the players. And they are screaming at their kid, who might be a whole two feet away, to pass, to run, “Joey, you gotta get around that guy”, “Come on Colin, that was a horrible pass”, and so on.

    It’s craziness, and I feel so sorry for the kids with hyper sports parents. Some thing like Silent Saturday would be fantastic.

  29. Crystal September 22, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I realize this is just one day, and it won’t kill anyone, but as an athlete, I HATED it when the parents were silent. I felt like it communicated that our little team wasn’t important when people just sat in the stands and clapped politely.

    That being said, we can all benefit from keeping our mouths shut sometimes.

  30. Carol the Long Winded September 22, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    Old news at least in AYSO – we already had our “silent sunday.” The refs love it; the kids hated it .

  31. BJ September 22, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    With two children involved in sports, I cannot imagine sitting on the sidelines completely quiet. I feel I am a free range parent, but yet I am also hoarse from yelling on the sidelines. I am also jumping up and down when our team has a good play or scores–right along with the parents of the other kids. I have asked my kids about this many times. We even joke about it. Which parent was the loudest at the game. Most often the child playing has no idea what was yelled or who was the parent yelling. Never have I been accused of embarrassing them. But they do know if mom is over there all smiles supporting their team. I am not for running over the coaches, or screaming at a particular child, but I am all for supporting my child and their team and having a blast right along side them while playing their sports. Even when playing in our backyard, we yell and cheer, and plain old be goofy. If I have live by all rules and have no fun, what is the point of the game again? The kids are there for fun. If the parents are having fun along side the kids, why not?

  32. SoccerMom September 22, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    I have four kids, three are in competitive sports. I’m a “screaming” mom – I cheer for my kids; “Go Blue,” “Go Black,” “Go #46” (when I can’t remember that kid’s name.) Does an occassional “coaching” word come out of my mouth, like “shoot!”, yes. Do I tell my kids where to stand, how to play the ball? No. We save that for the ride home.

    I have to say this Silent Weekend may sound like a great idea, – but coming from a school district where they’ve outlawed (yes, your team can get penalties or disqualification for this behavior) at the H.S. level cheering at games (remember the “we’ve got spirit yes we do, we’ve got spirit how ’bout you,” that you’d yell across the football field in the hopes the other side would yell it back louder? Yeah, not here) or waving your hands to try to distract a free throw or field goal (heaven forbid you have a pom-pom in that hand) and almost everything else that could be deemed an unfair advantage. It is no longer allowed.

    I agree there are parents who clearly need to hush-it and realize their child is probably not going to be the next insert-big-athlete-name-here; most are lucky to continue playing at the H.S. level. I agree with someone earlier, at least they’re there. It’s a shame that we have to have rules for parents, but there are ways for coaches and officials to deal with poor sideline behaviors. But why are we dealing with the minority by hushing the majority? If back-seat coaching is that big of a problem, then find a way to deal with that instead of instituting a league wide “time out” for everyone.

    Sometimes “stage parents” have nothing on “athlete parents.”

    Go Team!

  33. Susan September 22, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    I am horrible about this. I will attempt to have a silent weekend this weekend.

  34. CP September 22, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    You would think from reading this that it’s a crime to ask parents to be quiet for an hour or so and see what their kids can do on the field, that their children need them so desperately to yell and cheer that it’s the end of the world if they only get claps for applause. It’s ONE DAY fegodzzake! Th kids will know you’re there. What, are they going to think you’ve abandoned them, that you know longer care how they play, that you’ve given up on the team — just like the parents on the other team? Geez! I know… ask them to yell at you from the field instead. If you’ve been loud the rest of the time, they might just appreciate the break. Go hug em at halftime if you must. If they’re looking to the sidelines to see you every time they make a play they probably arent’ playing for themselves anyway. ONE DAY to let them show you what they can do on their own. And ONE DAY for the rest of us to actually hear what’s going on down the field without having Aidan’s overexcited mom clapping instead of telling the team to go! Is it really all that hard for an hour or 90 minutes? It’s not the end of the world. Unless you convince them it is.

  35. Maureen September 22, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Having coached volleyball and basketball (at both middle and high school levels) I’m all for this. There are some parents that have gotten so out-of-hand it’s a shame. I actually got yelled at by a parent because I wasn’t yelling enough. According to this father, if you aren’t screaming at the kids from the sidelines, you aren’t coaching. Meanwhile his daughter was ball-hogging and not listening to my direction – probably because he told her not to. I’ll spare you the other things he said to me, which were inappropriate and all said in front of the girls. That was my last year coaching. Obnoxious parents and their kids who don’t listen to their coaches – I didn’t need the stress.

  36. Kacey September 22, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    As a soccer player and coach, if this rule would keep parents from yelling “send it!” (meaning boot the ball as far down the field as possible) I am ALL for it. Soccer is not kickball! Pet peeves aside, there is a difference between cheering and armchair quaterbacking, it’s important to learn the difference. I’m not sure that one weekend of silent soccer is going to teach that, but it is a start.

  37. Emiky September 22, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    To me this seems just a reminder of good sportsmanship. Heck yes it’s fun to get into the game and cheer and scream and be obnoxious, but it dies get out of hand. One day to have everyone focus on why they’re there and how to tone it down to appropriate levels is fine with me if it saves people from becoming overbearing.

  38. Uly September 22, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I think some people here are overreacting (although on their side it’s kinda funny to see this post right on top of the one about loud recess!)

    1. I see this as pretty FRK appropriate myself. It’s not asking parents not to participate at all – clapping is allowed, for example – but instead to refrain from coaching from the sidelines, which is distracting and disruptive in the best of circumstances.

    2. This isn’t an all-the-time thing, it’s a special, once-a-year event. So it’s not the same as “making tons of rules so nobody comes”, it’s the same as saying “hey, our game is on Halloween, why not have all the parents and siblings wear costumes!”

    It’d be difficult for regular games, but for once in a while it’s doable.

    3. This isn’t a sudden, random, unannounced thing. It’s been planned for a while. So it’s not the same as in a REGULAR game doing your thing and getting dead silence (or even just polite applause) because the kids know in advance that this is a SPECIAL game.

  39. Laura September 22, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I get that there are overbearing parents out there. Heck, I’ve been in the position to escort that parent out of the room for interfering.

    But this Silent Sunday thing just reeks of one of the things we rail against all the time on this board… punishing the whole for the behavior of a few. Where did Zero Tolerance come from? A couple of whacko’s bring a gun to school, and now NOBODY is allowed to bring a plastic knife to cut a piece of fruit. Little Johnny was being a kid and fell off the monkey bars and broke his arm, and now the monkey bars are gone and NOBODY can play on them.

    This is the same thing, isn’t it? Mr. Smith over there is yelling at his kid from the sidelines and generally being a jerk. So instead of Mr. Jones going over there and calling him on it, let us ban EVERYONE from cheering their kids (and each other’s kids, because honestly, do you ever just yell for your own??).

    Maybe it’s time for the parents and coaches to stand together against the obnoxious ones. They’ll get the hint after they’re asked to leave a few times.

    Just don’t punish the whole for the behavior of the few, otherwise, we become just as bad as those we complain about.

  40. Nina September 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    I would like to think I’m one of those “well-behaved” parents that cheers for my daughter and her entire team. I wouldn’t feel *punished* by being quiet for one game. In fact, I’d be relieved! If it makes the game better for the kids and spectators, than what’s the problem?

  41. Melissa (Dr.Mom) September 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    Wow, what a great idea. Maybe we should do this for our upcoming game. Funny…I just posted about my fear of becoming a “crazy soccer mom”. I’m going to try to practice a little more silence.

  42. Donna September 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    I think some here protest too much. In other words, if you are worried about not being able to coach from the sidelines for one game, I’m gonna go ahead and say what others are thinking – YOU ARE one of the obnoxious parents that the rule is aimed at.

    This rule does not require you to sit quietly and watch. It requires you to not coach from the sidelines. If you want to be a coach, volunteer to be one. Rec teams are always looking for people to coach. If you’re not the coach, keep your mouth shut and let the kids play.

  43. Christine September 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    It’s not coaching to yell *Woohoo! nice catch 47!* Or to yell *RUN* when a kid is running with the ball. It’s cheering.

    It’s not going to cause me great anguish to take one day and be silent. I just think it’s ridiculous. I don’t need someone telling me how to cheer. If your league has an issue with overbearing parents, deal with those parents.

    I asked my kid. He likes to hear people cheering when he’s on the field or the rink. He thinks it’s exciting to have grownups yelling his name, his number, and saying ‘Great job!’

    Football and Hockey are high energy loud games. Perch in silence and golf clap at a golf game. Whoop it up at a football, hockey, or basketball game.

    I can figure that out for myself, without someone mandating for me which day I may cheer, and which day I should be silent.

  44. Lara September 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    None of you is a free range parent. It is fun how things are so overly discussed when it does not need discussion. Both sides are equally bad. The rule in itself just because some idiots do not know how to behave is stupid as it just makes parents feel more inappropriate. And those claiming it is all no big deal are idotic,t oo. Of course it is a big deal if I as a parent am told HOW to behave.

    Here is the reality. Everyone is different. Some are idiots. Others might not be. Let them be. If they behave badly, call them out on it. But never apply one rule to cover all. That just does not apply well.

    I personally do not yell from the sidelines. I just do not get this excited over sporting games. But that is me. Am I annoyed by other parents when they do. Oh yes. Do I feel I need to install a rule to make all parents act like I want them to… No. That is not my responsibility.

    Not everything needs a rule. People are different.

    Let’s just celebrate for once that everybody is different. And let’s not try to define the one appropriate behavior guideline that everyone needs to follow. That has gotten us in this mess anyways.

    And …. not everyone that is against something is overreacting. This is just a plain mean way of argueing if it can be called arguing at all. Comments like this are just bullying comments devaluing other people’s feelings and ability to voice an opinion.

  45. DMT September 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Thanks Donna for saying exactly what I WAS thinking. 🙂

    Again, this is ONE GAME out of several. It’s not “parental punishment.” If it was meant to be punishment it would be a permanent ban.

    Instead, it’s ONE GAME where the **real** beneficiaries of this rule can do their job: coaches and refs. These are the people who freely donate their time and effort (and sometimes money) in order to make it possible for us to even attend games to cheer/coach at.

    Are you really saying you can’t give them one stinking day of quiet?

  46. EricS September 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm #

    @OmegaMom: you took the words right out of my mouth. Unless your playing tennis or golf, cheering is part of the game. Let’s make this clear, CHEERING is part of the game experience. Although heckling, coaching from the stands, yelling obscenities or threats to other parents have become common place in children’s sporting events, it’s NOT welcomed in the game experience. Cheering adds more excitement for the fans and the players.

    @Steve: YES, you ask any athlete why they play the game they play, the 3 most common things you will hear: 1. They love the sport 2. The pay is good 3. They love to hear fans roar. Gets them pumped up. Now children’s sports aren’t anywhere near the magnitude of pro sports, but they still get that added boost of confidence and sense of pride when they hear the stands CHEERING. Did you not play sports as a child? And you can’t make the comparison of books and sports. Two different things. But to answer your question about praising kids for doing well academically, they LIKE it. Maybe they’ll never run around the house with their hands up, but they do feel that pride and satisfaction of being acknowledged. EVERYONE likes acknowledgment, whether you seek it or not, whether you admit it or not. It will always put a smile on your soul.

  47. Uly September 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    And …. not everyone that is against something is overreacting. This is just a plain mean way of argueing if it can be called arguing at all. Comments like this are just bullying comments devaluing other people’s feelings and ability to voice an opinion.

    In this case, a lot of the people are overreacting. That, or they didn’t even read what was posted. They’re acting as though this is an overarching rule for all games instead of one rule for one game a season. They’re making a big deal out of something that doesn’t need to be a big deal.

    Of course, to say that it’s “bullying”, that’s a little hypocritical, isn’t it? You wouldn’t want to devalue *my* opinion, would you?

  48. DMT September 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    “It’s not coaching to yell *Woohoo! nice catch 47!* Or to yell *RUN* when a kid is running with the ball. It’s cheering. ”

    Not necessarily. Yelling “Nice catch” is cheering; yelling “RUN!” when a kid is running with the ball could easily be argued as coaching. Isn’t telling the kid to run the coach’s job?

    This is exactly why this one day rule of silence exists for everybody: because people will aruge that they’re “cheering” when they’re really coaching. Hell, I’ll probably do the same thing should my kid decide to particpate in team sports. But there is a line between the two, and sometimes that line gets blurry, as your comment illustrated.

  49. Sha September 22, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    This wouldn’t even be needed if parents were able to police themselves. They won’t because they fear retribution or some dumb trumped up lawsuit from a parent they all called out on bad behavior. Back-coaching is something of a bully behavior. It undermines the authority of the coach and weakens the team. Especially if the child in question is actually listening to the parent.

    I’m betting not one of you complaining about this have ever coached. It’s not easy trying to herd a field full of children and then give them instructions on how to play. Add to that loud cheering and the annoying parent who back-coaches.
    It’s distracting and obnoxious and chances are your children can’t clearly hear what it is you are saying to them.

    And maybe you all complaining should go back and read in the comments up thread where Cindy Wilson clarifies that clapping and wooting is allowed.

  50. DMT September 22, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    And those claiming it is all no big deal are idotic,t oo”

    Calling someone an idiot just because they have a different opinion than you is just as bad, if not worse, than saying someone is overreacting. It’s – how did you put it? – a “mean” way of arguing, if you can even call it that.

    Calling someone an idiot is a bullying comment devaluing other people’s feelings and ability to voice an opinion. But, since you’re so against that, I’m sure that wasn’t your intention at all.

    The reason why I’m for this rule (and why it’s no big deal to me) is because I know people who are coaches for Little League, etc, and I’ve heard first hand some of the crap they’ve had to deal with. One of these coaches is my BIL who coached all three of his kids softball leagues for years. He’s had more arguments with parents than he can count and has even had threats made against him. He’s had to throw parents (and even a grandparent) out for obnoxious behavior.

    Yes, I agree, it’s not the norm, but the fact that he’s had to deal with that at all is astounding to me. These coaches donate their free time and much effort to making teams happen, whether they get in the playoffs or not. And all they ask for is ONE day of peace and quiet, where they don’t have to deal with blurry lines between coaching and cheering or even the potential of one obnoxious parent.

    Why someone would begrudge them that is beyond me.

  51. Donna September 22, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    @ Lara – First, you insult EVERYONE on the blog by stating that none of us are free range parents, including apparently the original Free-range mama, Lenore, since she supports the day – the implication being that ONLY YOU are truly free range. Then you call those of us who don’t think that asking parents not to coach from the sidelines for ONE SINGLE GAME is a big deal idiots. Then you call US mean and bullies. Hmmm, I think we can pretty much disregard whatever point you may have been trying to make.

  52. Maya September 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    Our soccer league here has been doing silent weekends once a season for years. Polite cheering (for both teams) is allowed, but not yelling instructions. They want the kids to learn to think for themselves, so only the kids on the team are supposed to tell each other what to do. I think it’s great, but there are always a few parents who think it’s stupid – usually the ones that are really pushy about their kids’ playing and spend the whole game yelling from the sidelines. They’re the ones it’s really for. 😉

    I should note it’s evolved a little over the years – they used to have us bring signs that said “hooray!” or “go team” or whatever, but that was too hard – and it was a little eerie, with the field totally silent.

  53. su N September 22, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    Finally some sense has come back to the world of kids sports. I don’t mind the coaches giving instructions, but these days parents are so aggressive they have taken all the fun out of the game.

    We really could use less parential guidence and more actually playing of the game.

    i love it!!

  54. su N September 23, 2010 at 12:02 am #

    P.S. What is all the bad-mouthing about here? Lets all agree to get along please.

  55. EricS September 23, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    I personally would feel it pretty unnerving and weird sitting in the stand of a little league soccer or football game, and it sounds like a golf course. Not exactly the same, but I’ve been to kids games where the parents weren’t really paying attention to the game, so there wasn’t much cheering going on. Maybe the occasional clapping from a few parents, but not much else. I could feel the immediate vibe of the game. Parents were quiet, to the point of boredom. Kids/players, weren’t very enthusiastic, constantly looking up at the stands. I’m guessing to look for some reaction. Some weren’t even into the game, playing amongst themselves. You can also see the coaches getting a little frazzled due to the lack of enthusiasm from the kids.

    What I’m afraid of is this rule catching on and becoming the norm. Isn’t that how most of these dumb rules started in the first place? ie. can’t ride bike to school, can’t walk to school, lockdown of the school, etc… Someone starts it, no one complains and follows along, next thing you know it’s a more permanent rule. It’s like a reverse Spock…”the good of the few, outweigh the good of the many”.

  56. Lara September 23, 2010 at 12:48 am #



  57. Lara September 23, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    I apologize, I sometimes like trolling around as I know what ticks other mothers off. And it is fun to see that it works every time.
    However, that is not fair.
    For my stupid remarks, I apologize.

    All I am really trying to do is: why is this such a big deal, why does everything need rules and policies, why is parenting always such an emotional issue?

    I am no more free range than any of you. And I do not claim to know or have it all. I am struggling through other parents judgmental comments as much as all of us do.

    That is why I do not get why everything needs to follow the rules and policies. Shouldn’t we all just learn tolerance and accepting others. Even if they occassionally act as idiots. Without just bashing and trashing whatever other thinking is out there?

    So, why are these rules necessary again? Because parents do not know boundaries?
    Or have people just gotten too lazy or afraid to deal with 1:1 conversations. I would personally rather be confronted if I acted in an unfitting manner instead o having everybody else suffer through newly established policies (even if just for one day) just because of my misbehavior.

    Free range for me is also about reducing the amount of control measures, policies, and rules and allowing other people the freedom to interact with their kids and other people in a way they think is appropriate. If this hinders your freedom, call them out on it. Do not make a certain set of behavior apply to all.

  58. Donna September 23, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I think the point that some are missing is that this is not some edict from soccer gods on high. This is league motivated, most likely originating from and supported by the coaches who make up the league. They believe that this is something that is beneficial to the kids and, it has apparently proven to be so since they continue to do it every year.

    I agree that watching sports without cheering is boring for the spectators. However, a kids’ rec soccer league is not supposed to be about the spectators; it’s supposed to be about the kids learning new skills and having fun. Nobody should give a damn whether the parents enjoy themselves or not. Half the things I do with my kid are boring to me but I grin and bear it because it’s important to her for me to be there.

    Kids have been playing pick up games with absolutely no cheering since the dawn of kids; right up until the recent generation parents insisted on over-organizing and scheduling every aspect of their children’s lives. They played those pick up games enthusiastically. They had fun. They learned to cooperate and run things themselves. All these coaches are trying to do is give this back to the kids for ONE SINGLE GAME in a world where they are not going to get another opportunity to do it.

  59. Donna September 23, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    Yes, free range is about letting parents interact with their children as they want. However, no man is an island and free range does not require complete lawlessness in an effort to protect personal parental freedoms.

    There are rules for being a part of every single organization on the planet (including society in general) in order to keep harmony and fulfill the objective of the organization. Those rules are made up by the people in charge of the organization – in this instance, the coaches. Some of them you will agree with, and some of them you will not. Your only options are to (a) not join that particular organization; (b) join and try to change the rules through the proper channels, or (c) join and deal with the rules that you think are silly because they’re probably not too big of a deal if you chose to join anyway.

    I just got an email from my kid’s gymnastics school asking parents to follow certain rules. All of them impact my ability to interact with my child exactly as I want to for the 50 minutes a week she’s at the school. Some of them are silly. However, the gymnastics school has a right to set rules as to what happens in their building and it’s my choice to continue to enter their building or not. That’s my sole parenting authority in this situation; it’s not to insist that there never be any rules that impact my interactions with my child.

  60. DMT September 23, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    @ Eric, I highly doubt this will become a permanent rule. This is not the first instance of “Silent Day” that I’ve ever heard of. It’s been going on with different leagues across the country for a number of years now. My BIL’s league started doing it four years ago.

    I honestly don’t understand some of the outrage over this. Is the point of going to your kids’ game to see them play or to yell your head off? You can still do the former while not engaging in the latter.

  61. Lara September 23, 2010 at 1:26 am #


    In my daughter gymnastic class parents are banned for that same reason, but a gymnastic training class is different from a soccer game in many ways. You either allow parents in or you do not. If you do not want comments, cheering, or coaching from parents, ban them from the game. But that would make for a lame game then, if you did not allow any spectators… wouldn’t it?

    My question was more targeted towards: why do we as a society need so many rules for behavior and interaction? Are we broken in a way that we do not understand common sense and decency anymore?

    How are we teaching kids to behave if apparently all of us do not possess the natural ability for decent behavior anymore? Who can serve as a role model if we cannot?

    I do not buy into the note that “everything needs and must have written policies and rules”. I think that is a dangerous path.

  62. Steve September 23, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Considering our topic here…
    You might find these articles interesting:

    “Why do kids play sports? Peter Barston still asking”

    “A Survey of Youth Sports Finds Winning Isn’t the Only Thing”


    The Real Reason Youth Athletes Play Sports


  63. K September 23, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    I don’t know – I am loud as all get-out. I cheer, whoop, and holler… but, alway spositive stuff. “Good catch” “way to go”, “good job” “Great hustle”, “keep it going”.

    And, often to both teams – these kids all go to school together. I know kids on both teams.

    The time I get quiet – when we are blowing someone out. Except then I may keep cheering for the opposition.

    I get really excited watching. And I love sports. I promise that I cheered just as loud and happily last week when my five-year-old made a goal at the wrong end as when my seven-year-old scored in the right direction. And, the kids were equally happy about their play!

  64. EricS September 23, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    @DMT: But was it the intention in your community to do this on yearly basis? Or was it intended to be for that one day, that turned into a yearly thing?

    I’m sports fan, so regardless if it’s my nephew’s little league, friends’ kids’ little league, or a pro sporting event, I’m cheering/yelling my excitement or disappointment. You CAN’T just sit there and just clap or make a cheer, when someone scores a goal or a touchdown. Then keep quiet till the next point is made. What I don’t do, is be that guy that yelling at kids what to do. Or berating them when they mess up. As many have said, there is nothing wrong with being loud with cheers. Just don’t be those few people that coach from the stands. Just like free-range, just because the rare situations happen, doesn’t mean the sky is falling. And everyone gets hit with a set of rules that really is just meant to keep the “coach” parents quiet. Not the rest of them that cheers.

    Some people like yourself don’t mind rules. Some, like myself, don’t like rules meant for others, but EVERYONE is suppose to adhere to them. It takes the fun and respect away from those that know how to be fans in the stands. Personally, if those rules were implemented in my community, I wouldn’t go to the game at all. What’s the point when you can’t support your team/kids. That’s just like waiting for them to get home, ask how the game was and give them a hi-five. That, or I’d be breaking them. lol I’ll be yelling “Nice job buddy!”, “it’s ok, next one buddy!”, or “Go, go, go! Touchdown! Whooooooooo!!!!”. But what you’ll NEVER hear me yelling is “take his head off!”, “get that kid off the field, he sucks!”, or “c’mon bud, you gotta play harder!”. Yes, you can go to a game and not cheer/yell, but that’s BORING for everyone, especially sport fans. I don’t like the meat heads who yell at their kids for missing a tackle, or not hitting another kid (in hockey) against the boards, or worse encouraging their kids to play dirty. And I’ve shut a few up in my time. But they are few compared to the parents who go their for positive support. The stands are electric. It’s these kinds of cheers that make for a fun game for both parents and the kids.

    I’d have to agree with Lara. Especially when the wrong people make the rules. I’ve found that people who make unnecessary rules like these, are the ones who have a god complex, or holier than thou attitude. You know, the parent’s that tell other parents they are raising their children the wrong way, that they should do what THEY do.

  65. DMT September 23, 2010 at 2:31 am #

    @ Eric, it was intended to be a one-day thing on a yearly basis.

    ” Just like free-range, just because the rare situations happen, doesn’t mean the sky is falling.”

    Exactly. And just because they’re enacting this one-day rule once a year doesn’t mean they’re going to go down the path of enacting for EVERY game (as you suggested further up).

    I don’t mind rules when I see the point of them. I see the point of this one. I do not view it as “unnecessary”; instead I see it as a welcome break for coaches who get one day to not have to worry about obnoxious parents, potential or otherwise, and can just do their job in peace. Why is that a problem?

    Again, if you’re so outraged about having to be quiet for one day, then maybe you need to question why you’re really there in the first place.

  66. Beth September 23, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Remember “Leave it to Beaver”? Wally played a lot of sports, and the Beav once in awhile too, and when they got home, Ward or June would ask “How was the game/track meet/match, etc.?”

    Obviously TV is not real life, but considering society and parenting today, I’m always amazed that the show depicted parents who didn’t attend sporting events and didn’t appear to feel guilty, and kids that didn’t get all worked up over their parents not being there.

  67. pentamom September 23, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    Donna — applause. Especially the parts about Free Range not meaning that everyone should allow you to have whatever interactions you want with your kids in any situation in which you choose to place them. But also, well, everything you said!

  68. Emiky September 23, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    I’m with Lara, I do hate too many needless rules when parents should be taking responsibility for themselves and their behavior. I dare say it’s becoming acceptable to rely on outside rules to take care of problems rather than the individual–and people are expecting it.

    I guess I see this one league doing this as a way to take care of what they see as a problem among them. Maybe most parents agreed to this in the first place.

  69. EricS September 23, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    @DMT: So if it’s just a one day thing, why have it at all? Your also making it sound like it’s really just for the benefit of the coaches, not about the kids. Which would be pretty selfish. And shows that these “coaches” aren’t very good at their jobs, if a few people gets on their nerves.

    I’m not outraged at all, I just think it’s a dumb rule and unnecessary. Just like I think the rules of no bike riding to school, no walking to school, and obvious toy guns will get you suspended for 2 years are just plain ignorant and unnecessary. The main thing to remember is this is about the kids, NOT the adults. This rule is basically to make life simpler and less of a hassle for the adults and has nothing to do with the kids in the first place. Just like helicopter parents, the adults always make an issue of things, it’s all about making themselves feel better and secure, and the children suffer.

    The reason why I’m there, is because I’m supporting the kids. Why else would I be there. To chat with other parents? lol No, I’m not there for them. We can discuss the game and point out who our kids are. But to use game day as an excuse to socialize with other parents and not pay attention to the kids playing is just plain selfish. Which is pretty much what you would be doing if your not cheering for your kids.

    The question is…is cheering a bad thing? If not, then why ruin the game for 40+ parents who know how to conduct themselves in the stands, because 2 or 3 numb nuts. THAT’s the illogical part of that rule. To shut up 3 idiots, you make a rule to shut up the rest of them. There is no common sense in that. There hasn’t been ONE single game I’ve ever attended or played in as a youngster that people kept quiet. NOT A ONE. My coaches and the coaches of kids now, are professional enough to not let the “hecklers” razz them or their players. They give that extra effort to let the kids who are playing know the real spirit of the game and not to listen to anyone else in the stands. And if you’ve ever played sports, you’ll know that the players listen to their coach no matter what in a game.

    I’ll ask you the same question, why are you there if you can’t cheer for your kids? More specifically, why would you NOT want to cheer for your kid(s) EVERY SINGLE game they play? There’s only two reasons I can think of…you don’t care or someone has gun to your head telling you not to cheer. Try this, if you have kids who play in team sports, ask them if they like it when the parents cheer in the stands or when they stay quiet most of the game. Any kid who enjoys the game they’re playing will tell you they like the cheers. Not the parent coaches in the stands yelling to them what to do, but the cheers of acknowledgments of what they are doing.

  70. pentamom September 23, 2010 at 5:09 am #

    “Obviously TV is not real life, but considering society and parenting today, I’m always amazed that the show depicted parents who didn’t attend sporting events and didn’t appear to feel guilty, and kids that didn’t get all worked up over their parents not being there.”

    Yeah, we’re some of those terrible parents, and it always amuses me that this is another example of the way it used to commonly be, becoming horrifyingly unthinkable now.

    We do get to our kids’ cross country and track meets several times each season, but many times we do in fact put them on the bus for the 2 each way hour ride (including the 12 year old!) and go about our business the rest of the day until we get the call to pick them up. And some people look at us like we have two heads, but our kids understand that the fact that THEY want to run XC and track does not mean that WE sacrifice everything else on every possible occasion.

    Similarly, my parents who were about the generation of Ward and June never once, I’m fairly sure, went to the football games where all four of my brothers were in marching band in the 60’s and early 70’s, or to any of the band competitions. We did frequently, but not always, go to their school concerts for concert and jazz band, but then my parents LIKED concert music, and couldn’t have cared less about high school football. My parents were supportive, paid for lessons and instruments, and were encouraging — but it wasn’t always all about us.

  71. EricS September 23, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    @Pentamom: “Especially the parts about Free Range not meaning that everyone should allow you to have whatever interactions you want with your kids in any situation in which you choose to place them.”

    No one here said anything about Free-range being able to do whatever you want with your kids in any situation. Free-range isn’t about that. It’s about instilling moral values, street smarts and letting our children learn and grow without the coddling. Yelling at our kids in games about how to play the game, or play dirty, or even taking it too seriously isn’t a responsible thing. That isn’t free-range thinking. Cheering our kids for their efforts on the field, court, or ice is a positive re-enforcement of acknowledging their hard work. Instilling in them that when they do good, we know it, and respect and appreciate them. That’s part of free-range thinking.

    I’ll ask you the same question, if your not one of those meat head parents, why would you NOT want to cheer your child on? Are you saying that your not that proud of your kids that you wouldn’t show your enthusiasm for them? Do you not want them to see that your cheering for them? Is it that embarrassing?

  72. DMT September 23, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    “Your also making it sound like it’s really just for the benefit of the coaches, not about the kids. Which would be pretty selfish.”

    Look at this way. These coaches dedicate much of their spare time to making these games even possible for you to yell your head off at. For many it’s a labor of love; i.e. they don’t get paid.

    How many games are there in a typical soccer season? Fairly many, I’d say. And you are allowed to yell all you want at just about every single game but one. Yet, you’re against giving the coaches just one day to themselves to do their job in relative peace.

    But they’re the selfish ones. Right.

    “And shows that these “coaches” aren’t very good at their jobs, if a few people gets on their nerves.”

    I disagree. I’d say coaches are VERY good at their jobs if a few people get on their nerves and all they want is one day out of the entire season to be able to coach in quiet.

    I’m not against cheering. I think it’s great, and I even agree with you that it pumps up the kids. And if this became a permanent rule, I’d be one of the first ones to speak out against it.

    But if my son was in a team sport, I’d go to every game, regardless of what rules there were because it would be important to see him play. And I dont’ have to be loud to show my support. Just being there – rain or shine – and watching the game shows support right there.

  73. Soccer Dad September 23, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    It would appear from this discussion that the sidelines are more important than the game.

    Shouldn’t we be grateful that for once we on the sideline can hear what’s actually going on on the field? Even more, let the kids be able to focus on themselves and the game? Or is it more important that the parents yell?

    Cheer and applaud for great plays, which is encouraged. And let the players control it. They are smart enough to realize when they’re doing things right. And they can check themselves when they need to adjust,

  74. Steve September 23, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    One more time:

    “Why do kids play sports?

  75. knutty knitter September 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Ummm – I don’t ever go to sporting events. Period!!! They are mostly embarrassing displays of bad parenting and too much noise. My kids know that their interests and mine do not necessarily coincide but that if it is really important I will be there – usually once or twice a year.

    My parents did the same for us.

    That way we all get to pursue what we really want to do. Its called being independent and does not mean I am not interested in anything good they did, Just that they will have to tell me about it themselves.

    viv in nz

  76. EricS September 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    @Soccer Dad: To me yelling and cheering are two different things. The article talks about being quiet…period. If you need to you can clap. Not cheer…clap. Like I said, I’ve never been to a little league football, soccer or hockey game where it felt like I was in a tennis match or golf game. I’m just curious though, what are you listening for on the field? It’s kids laughing and playing, with the coach speaking words of encouragement and some tips. And most of the time, their just concentrating on the game. Again, the rule was implemented to keep the meat head parents from being…well, meat heads. It’s not about the cheering. So why should the ones who cheer, be affected by the actions of the very few that are meat heads?

    @DMT: Then no, they aren’t good at their jobs. It doesn’t matter if it’s one day or half the season, a coaches job is mind his team, not listen to the cheers of the parents. I agree, that coaches get a lot of flack from meat head parents, but the ones I’ve played for and know now, don’t let it get to them. They’re mind is on his players and the game. That’s being good at your job. As I said above, this issue in which the rule was in place for was for the parents who yell obscenities at the coach, threaten other parents, yell at the kids. NOT about the parents who actually cheer on, not yell, cheer. The rule they should have made is if your disruptive to the game (and no cheering is NOT disruptive), ie. freaking out at the coach, cursing, etc… then you will be asked to leave. That’s a fair and unbiased rule. Not make it so that everyone has to shut up the whole game. That’s just ridiculous. You can support the kids without cheering, yes. But that’s like giving your kid a handshake for getting a goal, compared to putting your kid on your shoulders and parading him around like the proud parent you are. Or a lollipop and a pat on the back, compared to pizza for everyone at Chucky Cheese. I tend to be the latter. Whether you realize it or not, the kids pick up on a lot of things. More than most parents know. Again, this isn’t about us or the coaches, how we feel is irrelevant in comparison to how the kids feel. So in short, rule or no rule, EVERY game I go to, I’m going to cheer my nephew and the other kids on. I’m not doing anything wrong or disrespectful, so why should I be put in the same category as those that rule was implied for.

  77. Beth September 24, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    Cheering and sideline coaching are two different things. A coach not wanting the kids barraged by parental instruction while on the field is not “bad at his job”.

  78. Kacey September 24, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    @Beth- THANK YOU. I have coached both soccer and swimming and played both growing up and soccer in college. I have seen players confused to the point of paralysis on the field because of all the instructions yelled at them. As a coach, I feel like most of my work is done in practice and on game day it’s up to the players to do the work. Soccer is a creative sport, players must learn to do for themselves on the field. I certainly help some, but it’s not my job to keep up a continual monologue of instructions during a game. I wish many parents could understand this. Swimming, obviously, is a little different, but I have seen two horrible examples of overzealous parents literally pacing up & down the pool deck as their child does laps at practice yelling instructions at them. Cheering, fanfare and enthusiasm for the game are wonderful & I enjoyed them as a player and I enjoy them as a coach…. constantly telling your kid what to do (switch the ball, drop it, shoot, send it, man on) is not cheering….. it’s what the other players ON THE FIELD should be saying to your kid.

  79. EricS September 24, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    Beth and Kacey, I totally understand what your saying. And that’s the issue at hand, meat head parents precisely doing those things. It’s not the cheering. I believe most of us who are saying the “quiet rule” is ridiculous, are saying it’s ridiculous because it eliminates one of the exciting parts of the game, the cheering section. Not coaching from the stands, not pacing up and down the pool, not pulling your kid off the side line and telling them they suck and to smarten up. It’s cheering. We are talking about “wooo-hoos”, “way to gos”, “good jobs”, even “that’s my kids”. How is that disruptive? As Kacey pointed out, it isn’t, and it’s even welcomed. So why would anyone want to stop that part of the game just because 1 or 2 parents don’t know how to conduct themselves.

    Like I said, target the trouble makers and deal with them. NOT all parents. That’s like blaming someone for something they didn’t do. And I’m pretty sure there’s not one of us here that would appreciate that. Plus, it’s easier to deal with 2 idiots than 40 parents who want to be CHEERING for their kids.

    The reason why I said “bad at his job” is because, that just says that coach is concentrating more on the the parents than the kids. The only time I ever saw a coach get really affected by a parent butting their nose in a game, was when one of the dads went down to the sideline and started man handling his kid. The coach, me, and 2 other fathers stepped in. Other than that, the coaches I’ve had the pleasure to deal with didn’t let it phase them. And the kids still enjoyed themselves. So if these coaches can do it, why can’t others. Pro or little league, it’s still a job and a responsibility for the kids, and no one else.

  80. Uly September 24, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    that’s like giving your kid a handshake for getting a goal, compared to putting your kid on your shoulders and parading him around like the proud parent you are.

    If you’re doing that for every goal, doesn’t it interrupt the game? I can see why the coaches might not like it!

  81. kherbert September 25, 2010 at 5:39 am #

    Why are the coaches/refs not ejecting the parents who are being inappropriate?

    My Dad helped coach my sister’s softball and soccer teams. I remember him and the other coaches telling one parent from our team that he had 3 choices
    1. Stop being negative and screaming ugly things about the other team.
    2. Not come to the games
    3. His child could leave the team.

    I also remember them calling time outs a couple of times and telling the opposing coach and the ref they needed to stop a parent on the other team that was calling names or using inappropriate language. It wasn’t a request, and these were men who were used to having people hop to. The parent was always told to either be quiet or leave.

    (I’m talking not about cheers or even things like “easy out” though they did not let their players yell that. I’m talking about things like telling players to hurt other players or cursing at elementary kids.)

  82. Joann September 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    I would hate a game without noise! My daughter plays soccer, and we all yell from the sidelines. Not instructions – the coaches do that – but stuff like, “Great job, Kathy!” “Good play, Sarah!” “C’mon, Red!’ I don’t see a problem with that.

    I never hear anything negative about the other team, and people often clap for the other team’s good plays.

  83. pentamom September 29, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    Eric, I guess some of just think that “you can be quiet during the course of one game to help improve the overall atmosphere the rest of the time” isn’t any kind of “punishment” or “burden.”

    And I’m not too thrilled with your loaded questions about “not being proud of my kids” or “being embarrassed,” but I’ll just say that I don’t see why any kid whose parents cheered and encouraged them all the rest of the time would doubt a parent’s pride in them just because they agreed to be quiet during the course of one game, thinking it might help set a better tone for the rest of the season. Even if that belief is wrong, can you see why it doesn’t equate to a “punishment,” a hatred of legitimate cheering, or being ashamed of one’s kids?

    As for a coach being “bad at his job,” well, without using such condemnatory language, I can agree that a coach should be able to work with some harmless distraction. But does that mean it wouldn’t be better, and enable him to do better, if he had less distraction?

    I think the whole point of this is for the rowdy parents to learn that you can actually sit through a game without excessive displays, heckling, and/or sideline coaching. Yes, you can always eject them, but it might also be nice if some of them just learned a lesson and were able to participate more constructively, rather than HAVING to be ejected.

    Now maybe it’s a legitimate objection that this would do no good in really dealing with the problem parents. That may be true. I just don’t get why it’s so terrible that people who think it might be a good idea have to be accused of not understanding the purpose of cheering or not being interested in their kids.

  84. pentamom September 29, 2010 at 2:57 am #

    Eric, as far as the “not Free Range” thing, I WAS in fact responding to some people who thought that it’s anti-Free Range to have no cheering days because it interferes with people raising their children as they see fit. Whatever else may be good or bad about the no cheering days, that’s bosh. When people involve their kids in outside activities, there are policies. It’s not anti-Free Range for an outside organization to have policies about how parents can and can’t be involved, and can and can’t behave at functions. If you’re not saying that (and I know you’re not) then it wasn’t directed at you. But there definitely were comments to that effect here.

  85. David Jacobson October 13, 2010 at 5:42 am #

    I noticed your plan to attend PlayOn. I hope you see my colleague, Eric Eisendrath, presenting on behalf of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Then I hope you write about PCA, stay in touch with us, sign up for our e-newsletter, guest blog at our site, etc. Feel free to e-mail, call, follow @PositiveCoachUS as we’re pursuing a lot of the same ideas.