Bully on Youth Sports Team--advice?

Updated on March 07, 2011
L.T. asks from Houston, TX
12 answers

My 6-year-old son is starting the spring season of soccer next week. We just got our team assignments and there is a child on the team that is known as a bully at school. Last year he was in my son's class and would push him (my son) and other kids down, run into them, and generally just be mean. He hasn't singled out my son--he's just rough with all kids. Even this year he continues to run into and push other kids on the playground and during P.E. (which my son is in the same session with him). I do know that at school, his discipline issues are addressed but I think he's just a rough kid and kinda mean. Weird thing is my daughter was on the sames sports team this winter with his older sister. His mom and I had never met prior to then and when she introduced herself I made mention that her son was on my son's class last year. She said "Oh, then you probably already know about him!" and made a few other comments about how he's' always getting in trouble. The few times I've been around her I've noticed she is a yeller and not always that nice to her kids. I say that b/c I 'm not sure if she really "gets" how it affects her kids or that she does much about it.

So, my question is how do you all deal with bullies when you witness their actions and the parents are there? We know most of the other kids on the team and they are all great team players. I"m just not looking forward to constantly dealing with this kid's rough behavior. Any thoughts? TIA for your help!

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So What Happened?

Thanks all for your advice. I will see how it goes. Good news is our coach was our asst. coach last year and is a super nice guy and very positive with the kids so I feel comfortable that he will handle anything that comes up or myself approaching him if this other boy is a problem. in the few times I've been around his parents, I have the feeling that they don't really intervene that much and will even just chuckle when they see their son being rough. As far as him directing it at other teams...we played against his time for both basketball and soccer and while it's true he did seem to take on a team player role, he was also called by the ref a few times for pushing into same or the opposing team mates. I am fine to let the coaches handle it. The main thing is that when my son finds out this boy is on his team he will not want to go to practice/games. That happened last year with another boy. But I like Ditzy's advice that this is an opportunity to talk to my son about standing up for himself. Thanks all!

Featured Answers


answers from San Antonio on

This is where the coach has a role. If the rough behavior starts talk to the coach, this is a great age for the kids to respect the coach and learn to follow the instructions of someone other than a parent.

I will always give a parent a chance but if they don't do anything I have no problem with addressing the kid.

Good luck,

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answers from Phoenix on

I would wait until you see a repeat of the problem behaviors in the context of the sports team and then talk to the coach about this being an ongoing issue with this boy. Ask the coach to address bullying and roughness with all the children, so as not to single this child out. If it continues to be an issue, speak to the mother right as something happens, don't wait a few days to address it or she may feel attacked. I would simply go to her and say something like "Could you please talk to 'John' about not being so rough like he just was?" If you get major resistance or if she blows you off, go back to the coach and again ask for help in addressing and dealing with this matter. If any other parents talk to you about it, tell them your plan and ask they do the same. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Hopefully the coach sees this behavior and addresses it so you don't have to.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Talk to the coach about your concerns and ask how he would address such an issue (maybe don't name names yet but it will put him on alert for potential issues). When at a team event, let the coach take the lead on correcting his team members. If your child is in extreme danger, obviously you would need to step in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you're making too much out of this. I know you're just going on past behavior, but your son is on the same team as this kid. I'd be more worried if I was playing against hm.

Sportsmanship and team work are something that could benefit this aggressive kid - heck - he might end up this team's MVP.

If you do witness something, bring it up to the coach. It's their job to deal with unsportsmanlike behavior.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My oldest had a boy like that on his basketball team and the coach told him his was not going to put up with it. If he couldn't behave then he could not be on the team. Well the kid starting shoving my son my son finally had enough and shoved him back the coach told them both if he saw it again they would both get kicked off well the bully started pushing my kid again as soon as the coach turned his back so I go up went over to the kid and told him if he could not keep his hands off my son I would call his mom (she never stayed for practice) the boy never touched my kid after that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I completely agree with Jubee; your concern at this point is premature. Wait and see how practice and games go. Give the coach a chance to do his job. It's entirely possible this kid could excel at soccer, it is a very physical and aggressive sport.

If you do see things that trouble you and it doesn't appear the coach is handling them then talk to the coach about it.

ETA - I would be careful about talking to the mom about behavior on the soccer field. Take it to the coach and let them handle it. DH coaches my daughter's 2 soccer teams, and my son is on a select team and a rec team. It is my job as a parent to be supportive of my kids, supportive of the team, and supportive of the coaching staff - it is not my job to address the playing style or behavior of another child on the team.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

wait and see if he is that way on the team first, he might just expel all his energy on the field. My boys have been in sports for years and sometimes the kids that are "rough" at school are the best kids to have on your team. If he does act out and you are around just remind the kids (without singling him out) that they are a team and they all have to work together to win. If that doesnt work talk to the coach.


answers from San Antonio on

This is where the coach has a role. If the rough behavior starts talk to the coach, this is a great age for the kids to respect the coach and learn to follow the instructions of someone other than a parent.

I will always give a parent a chance but if they don't do anything I have no problem with addressing the kid.

Good luck,


answers from Houston on

Just one other thought to add to the others.
I notice you live in Sugar Land. If it's FFPS, I can tell you right now that Jack will NOT tolerate bullying in any way, shape, or form. It doesn't matter if he's gettting a bit rough with his own team, or the other team. If ANY bullying occurs, report it immediately. The parents will get a warning. If it happens again, the child will be removed. If I remember correctly, the removal is permanent.


answers from College Station on

The coach is the boss on the playing field, not the parents. Make sure the coach knows about this other child's antics. A simple email or face to face conversation should do it.

Then just sit back and let the coach deal with it. If the child does stuff when the coach is not looking, then bring that to the coach's attention.


answers from Beaumont on

Sports are one way for kids and parents to learn a thing or two about life. Hopefully the kids who are "great team players" will come up with a way to put boundaries on his meanness. I always talked to my kids about different ways they could deal with difficult kids while maintaining their safe boundaries. Finding and using their voice is a great thing to learn. In other words stand up for yourself and say something loudly when someone is hurtful with words or actions and do not let it slide. Bullies usually only do their thing when they think they can get away with it but when someone points their stuff out in front of a group they back down. Hopefully most of his energy will be directed at the opposing team and not at his team mates because then he will learn that it does not give him the feedback he desires. Also he needs positive feed back when he does anything kind thoughtful or that promotes the team. If they come from a rough home they need to be taught a different way to be and given opportunities to experience success.

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