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Signs of Sports Bully

Signs of Sports Bully

If it’s not fun for them, they just won’t want to play anymore. If they’re being bullied by the coach or another player they may think they have no choice but to put up with it. Parents can be the last ones to find out their child is being bullied because the child does not want to make a fuss. To worst fear that youngsters have is that they will not be believed. If the problem is a coach or teacher, then children can be too scared of living with the consequences of their actions, and they may worry about becoming unpopular with other team mates.  We as parents have to put the need of our children first and watch for signs of bullying. If your child’s behaviours have changed it may be time to look at bullying as a cause. Some signs to look for are:

  • Very quiet, aggressive, moody. Is he already being bullied at school or is there something going on in the club you need to know about?
  • Unable to take criticism? Have they stopped sharing in banter and does he seem to be the butt of jokes?
  • Getting sly kicks or verbal abuse? Is the odd shouted comment acceptable or might it lead to off the field taunts as well?
  • Subdued and making a quick exit after matches?
  • Have you thought about having adult supervision in the changing room?
  • A bit reluctant to attend training these days?
  • Being left out of the game, is the ball being passed around to everyone but not to her?
  • Singled out for their dismal performance or ridicule him in front of his mates will that mean they see that as a signal for them to do the same?
  • Seem unwilling to use the changing room. Is he turning up with his kit on under his clothes, does he have to rush off at the end of the game
  • Athletes who are subjected to bullying will often lose focus, play or perform tentatively, feel anxious, drop out of tournaments or competitions, or quit sports altogether.

Additional signs and indicators of bullying behaviour

The young person may:

  • withdraw from some or all club/sport activities
  • become anxious, or lacking in confidence
  • begin self harming or attempt suicide
  • appear distressed
  • have bruises, cuts or scratches and give improbable excuses
  • have possessions which are regularly damaged, lost or money that ” goes missing”
  • be frightened in certain situations i.e. just before changing or when they are about to get on a club bus
  • be frightened of walking to or from training
  • appear frightened of a particular individual or group
  • change their usual routine
  • start stammering or stops eating
  • cry themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
  • feel ill at the thought of going to the club
  • begin to do poorly in school work
  • ask for money or starts stealing money (to pay bully)
  • become aggressive, disruptive or unreasonable
  • be bullying other children or siblings
  • be frightened to say what’s wrong
  • be nervous & jumpy when a cyber-message is received

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