How to Prevent Sports Violence

Aggressive play in sports can result in injury but isn't considered violent because it is within the rules of the game. However, sports violence occurs on several levels and includes players, coaches and spectators, and happens well outside the rules. Here's how to prevent sports violence in your area.

Have players, parents and coaches sign a code of sportsmanship so everyone involved in the sport is responsible for preventing violence. Define what the consequences are and ensure that everyone understands when the line from aggressive play to violence has been crossed. Parents and coaches need to be an example of good sportsmanship for young players.

Enforce consequences to make it clear that you don't tolerate violence. When participants realize that their actions have consequences that may affect their future, sports violence can be prevented. You need to ensure that consequences are more than a slap on the wrist in order to deter participants from engaging in violent behavior.

Hand out guidelines or communicate with spectators what you consider violent and the ramifications of a violent act. One major source of sports violence is known as Hooliganism, which occurs when fans take actions that can cause harm such as rushing a field after a victory.

Teach kids sportsmanship by emphasizing that a sport is fun to play and that the outcome of the game isn't the most important aspect. You can enroll your kids in non-competitive sports where there isn't a score. Encourage players to recognize the talent of opposing players and avoid behavior like chatter or heckling.

Use law officials. Police officers have the authority to stop violence and maintain control of sporting events. The presence of law officials prevents sports violence by reminding participants that there are consequences for violence.