Go to Top

Guest Post: CYC Sportsmanship and Positive Parent Participation

By Buzz Swanston | Assistant Sports Director, CYC

This Saturday evening the Musial Awards will be presented at the Peabody Opera House.  Named after our beloved Cardinal #6, Stan the Man, these awards recognize outstanding sportsmanship at a national level in 2015.  Players, coaches, officials, and teams at all levels of sports will be honored by the St. Louis Sports Commission.  Arnold Palmer and Mike Matheny will speak and make presentations that night.  It is wonderful that the national spotlight will be on St. Louis, focused on Sportsmanship.

It seems an appropriate time to refocus the emphasis on sportsmanship at the youth level.  A recent article in the St. Louis Review mentioned a number of ways the Catholic Youth Council (CYC) has encouraged and enforced good sportsmanship at the youth level.  Knowing that young players follow the example of their coaches, for the past 12 years the CYC has required all head coaches to attend a Catholic-based coaches training class (Coaching to Make a Positive Difference) before stepping on to the field or court.  In 2013 that program was expanded and required all coaches to attend.

Most news articles concerning youth sports seem to highlight the negative side of youth sports.  Coaches who are out of control, berating, or even attacking officials.  The CYC feels the training classes for coaches have improved overall demeanor and manner of CYC coaches by putting an emphasis on the coach as a youth minister; an extension of the church to the game itself

But what about overzealous parents who confront coaches or even come onto the field or court to abuse officials?  That can be a problem too.  Although the incidents at CYC games have been few and far between, the CYC has recently tried to address the parents at youth games.  This past year, with the help of the St. Louis Sports Commission, the CYC has been offering the Positive Parent Participation online class to parents at no cost.  The class was created by Bill Bommarito of Coaching Coaches.  It is an outstanding 27 minute class that parents can take at home when they can fit it into their busy schedules.  It really hones in on situations that all parents face when their children play sports and it offers positive ways to handle those situations.  Some of the experiences highlighted are:

  • How do parents prepare your child and yourself for the upcoming season?
  • What do you do if you are upset with a coach or an official during a game?
  • When and how do you appropriately talk to a coach about your concerns?
  • What do you say to your child after a game in which your child feels they played well? Or after a game your child feels they played poorly?

There is a lot of good information packed into 27 minutes.  Over the past year we have had 700 parents go through the course.  That is good.  But we wish it was 7000!

As one parent asked, “Do you think ALL parents are bad and need to take the class?”  Actually, no, we firmly believe 99% of the time parents are a great, positive part of this Christian experience.  But we want it to be even better.

If a parent goes through the course and picks up one new thing, it makes our whole program better.  In keeping with the new Archdiocese BeOne vision, we are the CYC.  Each and every one of us has an important part to play in making the CYC the best it can be.

So if you are a parent, take 27 minutes out of your schedule sometime soon and take the Positive Parent Participation program at cycstl.net (the link is in the left-hand column).

If we all do our part maybe a CYC player, coach, team or PARENTS will be a recipient of a Musial Award in the near future.