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  1. #1
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    The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Everyone is going to hate this post. That's OK. Well, it's not OK 'cos I don't really want to be on an island here but...

    In my post Giants loss thread about 'who are we upset with' there was a well made point by a poster (I'm intentionally not quoting them) that the way the AFL conducted themselves (ie. not suspending Greene) is the sort of action that would discourage him/her from allowing their kids from playing footy when they reach that age.

    I have been thinking (a lot) about that statement and I know it is one that would be shared by most of the other parents with kids in my now 12yo's team...and I could say the same about my 17yo.

    The problem is though that footy at junior level has become so NICE that whenever something does go awry, it is so unexpected that everyone completely loses their mind. Everyone wants to be 'mates' with the team managers of rival sides laughing and joking before games and offering support to one another...right up until the moment when 'something' happens which triggers everyone to run to the Match Day Official (another parent on a roster) screaming blue murder and demanding the immediate intervention of a higher power....I have seen more sideline angst at the junior footy this year than ever before - most of it caused by pretty trivial events. A bit of push and shove amongst 12-year olds (let alone 17 year olds) seems enough to send the sidelines into a frenzy of fury and screaming and all sorts...

    Footy is a combative game played by people who WANT to engage in a physical sport. The line is going to be crossed. It just is. But at junior level, that 'line' is being pulled back further and further each year...once upon a time, a high tackle was a high tackle - and resulted in a free kick. Now a high tackle is deemed worthy of a red card by what seems like 90% of the people watching the game...Not only that, there is a huge emphasis on artificial sportsmanship (players from both team engage in a group hugging/cheering session after the game) and little emphasis given to the 'genuine' sportsmanship (returning the ball to the umpire, helping an opponent to his feet, etc) that was once part of the game. It seems we want boxes ticked and we want everyone to keep up appearances...but the stuff that is genuine is never spoken about/celebrated. And because of this, rather than a player being crunched in a hard tackle then helped to his feet by the tackler, what happens is he is still crunched in the tackle but - because there is no emphasis on the 'physical' nature of the game - when he jumps up he wants to push and shove the tackler with Mum and Dad (and often the coach) screaming at the field demanding a 'dangerous tackle' free kick be awarded.

    Where am I going with this? I actually don't know. But what I do know is we need to be teaching our kids to play what is a physical sport in a physical way. And we need to go back to celebrating the physical elements of the game from a young age - it is not often there is a 'genuinely serious' injury caused by physical contact (the two hospital trips for my two this year have both been from basketball) and even less often that there is an injury caused by an action outside the laws of the game (such as striking etc).
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

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  3. #2
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    People have a tendency to make excuses for people, including kids, who behave like pricks on the field. That's where the effort should be focused.

    People who behave like pricks on the field, including kids, know they are being pricks. We need to remove pricks from football and just get on with playing good hard competitive sport.

    (We won't do that. We'll put them on Ch7 or Ch9 and hope they don't say something homophobic or racist whilst being apologists for violent behaviour.)

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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Not sure why but I felt I had to get that off my chest!

  5. #4
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    These days I don't see any junior footy but would be interested how it plays out in your city, ie is it different to MJP's experience in Perth. I know alot of parents on the side line can be a real nuisance and upset the game with the way they carry on about their little Johnny or Jenny.
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  6. #5
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    We need to remove pricks from football and just get on with playing good hard competitive sport.
    Let the players sort it out. I like to say that a$$holes are EVERYONE's problem...so EVERYONE needs to get involved in 'fixing' them. I think the same rule applies to people who are 'behaving like pricks'.

    The problem I see is no-one lets the players sort it out. The parents on the sideline want to scream at each other about what may or may not have happened and who may (or may not) have been upset/offended.

    There's always someone who is bigger/stronger/faster etc. And everyone's time comes (one way or the other).
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    Let the players sort it out. I like to say that a$$holes are EVERYONE's problem...so EVERYONE needs to get involved in 'fixing' them. I think the same rule applies to people who are 'behaving like pricks'.

    The problem I see is no-one lets the players sort it out. The parents on the sideline want to scream at each other about what may or may not have happened and who may (or may not) have been upset/offended.

    There's always someone who is bigger/stronger/faster etc. And everyone's time comes (one way or the other).
    Nah, too many people as collateral along the way unfortunately. I like the sentiment, but most people are reasonable and don't respond to violence with violence, or ostracism.

    This is why you need parents to be reasonable, take a breath, and actually take responsibility for the prick kids they've raised if they've raised prick kids. Also, parents need to self regulate on a team or club level. If there's bad behaviour it needs to be called out and addressed.

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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    Nah, too many people as collateral along the way unfortunately. I like the sentiment, but most people are reasonable and don't respond to violence with violence, or ostracism.

    This is why you need parents to be reasonable, take a breath, and actually take responsibility for the prick kids they've raised if they've raised prick kids. Also, parents need to self regulate on a team or club level. If there's bad behaviour it needs to be called out and addressed.
    The other issues is parents coaching their kid and telling them what to do and confusing the kid
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    This is why you need parents to be reasonable, take a breath, and actually take responsibility for the prick kids they've raised if they've raised prick kids.
    ...you need parents to be reasonable?

    LOL. It is the parents behaviour my whole post is about...the kids are (mostly) fine. But - as I said - if one thing goes wrong the PARENTS lose their mind, and in doing so, cause things to escalate.

    AND. In the car ride home/at the dinner table, rather than just being quiet they continue to go on (and on, and on) about "IT" (whatever "it" was) which contributes to the players over-reacting in future seasons.

    It's a contact sport. Make contact. And understand that someone is going to make contact with you...and you are going to be ok. And if you just go lower and harder, you wont be the one who gets hurt (if anyone gets hurt at all which is pretty unlikely). And by the way, a bloody nose is not 'getting hurt' - it's a bloody nose. It'll be OK.

    No-one wants players - particularly young players - being slung to the ground and concussed etc...this isn't about that. But footy is a physical game and should be appreciated as such.
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

  10. #9
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    I understood your point, but of course you need the parents to be reasonable. Who's going to fix it if not the parents?

    Yes they are the problem. But they're the only group who can fix it, and it will take a couple of generations to turn the tide and start improving.

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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Parents these days (and i have 3 kids under 10) are are interesting breed. So many helicopter parents and parents that want to be involved in literally everything. It's a bloody nuisance.
    Coached my eldest boys soccer team this year and there were constant problems with parents getting too involved.
    Quite a few clubs in the league have started implementing rules for where parents have to watch the game from so that they can't interfere too much.

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  13. #11
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    My first experience of it was when I was 19 or so, assistant coach of the under 14's of the junior club I played for. Thought I'd help give something back. My best mate was coach.

    We were inclusive of the parents, the parents were pretty good actually. One day the team didn't do anything we directed them to, and we just wanted to focus them. I got them into a huddle at quarter time and asked the parents to let the coach talk to them first and then go for it, go and chat with your kids. I didn't yell, I wasn't aggressive, just asked the question audibly so everyone could hear.

    As I was sitting on the bench taking a rest (I was runner as well), the club president who's kid was in the team got right into my face and shouted at me doing the full finger point to eye level that I wasn't allowed to tell parents not to talk to their kids until the coach had...........My Twodogs instincts didn't get the better of me and I allowed the finger pointing and waving. But the dude was wiped, end of story.

    It basically turned me off. The kids didn't have to listen to the coach, or didn't have to focus on team oriented things that were important and that we were trying to teach them. The times had changed (that was late 90's) compared to when I was their age five years earlier.

    From what I hear it's gotten much much worse. Footy clubs were weird enough as they were without parents being complete sociopaths.

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  15. #12
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    ...It is the parents behaviour my whole post is about...the kids are (mostly) fine.
    Thereís so much to unpack here, but letís start. There are junior rugby league associations in NSW that have banned parents. At first I thought it was appalling, but the more anyone is around junior sport, the more you understand how much better it would be without the parents.

    Just this year alone in junior footy in suburban Melbourne, I have seen parent water carriers spit on the umpire, a club coaching coordinator label a goal umpire a cheat when he went to confer with the field umpire (he didnít realise the goal umpire was a volunteer for, his own club!), an 11 year old screaming from the field to his dad on the sidelines pleading him to shut up, and I have much more.

    My biggest issue is the treatment of umpires, again mainly by parents, but increasingly by kids who mimic their behaviour, including when they go to watch an AFL or even a suburban game. Kids have both arms out-stretched calling for free kicks that are rarely there. The parents are even worse, screaming baaalll and yelling abuse at umpires who are just young teenagers themselves. And then I go to an AFL game where umpires are booed the minute they walk on the field before making any decision, then pilloried for every decision that doesnít go the way of that supporters team. The kids watch this behaviour and inevitably repeat it. When I say parents, I look at the grandparents, and they are usually worse, further embracing the culture where the umpies are against us, maggots of whatever colour they are wearing.

    This week, I spoke with a past multiple AFL Premiership coach about this exact issue and what could we do about it. How do we change the culture? How do we change the respect of umpires in a sport which he labelled the most difficult sport in the world to officiate? He had looked closely over his decades in the game and has no idea. What hope do we have?

    In another post, I quoted Don Pyke from his statement of resignation this week and his concern about how we measure contentment in the game. Regrettably when I watch live footy now, so many of the supporters seem to get enjoyment from yelling abuse at umpires, the opposition, and even their own players. Think about it, who is your favourite whipping boy? In cricket this morning, Mitch Marsh even acknowledged that he knew most Australian supporters hate him, but he just keeps his head down and tries his best. Sport is used by the fans as an outlet for their pent up emotions from a rough week at work or home, an escape where bad behaviour is tolerated. No wonder players increasingly feel the pressure and decide they donít have to put up with it anymore, regardless of their enormous salaries.

    Iím not sure I know where Iím going this anymore than you did with the opening post mjp, but until we adults start behaving like, well, adults, the kids have no hope.
    "I'll give him a hug before the first bounce and then I'll run into my pack and give them orders to rip him apart."

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  17. #13
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    Sport on the weekend as an outlet is becoming increasingly toxic, largely because everyone is completely cooked from the week they've just had and have anxiety towards the week that is facing them.

    My poor mother would finish a week of work as a single mother, and she worked hard, and she sacrificed her Friday nights to drive me from the south eastern suburbs to places like Eltham, Seaford, Broadmeadows and anywhere in between to play basketball. She was a fairly passive supporter unless I did something she didn't like from a sportsmanship perspective, but other parents facing variations of or the same pressures weren't. They took it out on players, teenage coaches or teenage umpires. The trend continued through Saturdays at basketball and Sundays at football. One of my only regrets in life is that I put her through that.

    Life's hard, some people can't cope with it and it results in poor behaviour. The need to compete with the Jones's has gotten far more cut-throat, the media tells us if we're not winning in our own eyes or those around us we've failed and we need to be aggressive to actually be that winner. At all costs, disregarding actual fair play and togetherness that club sport should bring.

    We have a ridiculous private debt to GDP ratio (mortgage stress, continual saving and budgeting just to keep afloat), people aren't getting the pay increases they used to get and genuinely can't keep up with the growing competition that is surviving or raising kids in the modern world. Everyone is stressed as *!*!*!*!. It's little wonder Sunday football is a melting pot for shit behaviour from parents.

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  19. #14
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    It staggers me to hear umpires being called cheats at local and junior footy level.

    The clubs should be doing more to discourage the sort of behaviour that MJP quite rightly raised but I dare say the stark reality for many junior clubs clubs that they can't afford to lose players, meaning they turn a blind eye.

    Parents need to remember that it ain't about them and their parenting. It's about their kid and their enjoyment of the game.

  20. #15
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    Re: The 'Junior Footy' to 'Senior Footy' Disconnect.

    I used to coach junior soccer and the biggest problem was parents berating their own kids !
    Bring back the biff

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