Basketball coach wants parents to take it easy on young players

A basketball coach in western Newfoundland is trying to get people to take it a bit easier at kids' games. 

Tom Stewart of Corner Brook says it's not uncommon to hear parents or kids in the stands, and even players on the bench, using foul language throughout the game. 

This year, he says, when referees see or hear behaviour not appropriate for kids' games, they address it head on. 

If we call a scientific game, it would be three or four hours. - Tom Stewart

"Emotions run high, especially at that age — Grade 4, 5, 6," said Stewart, who is also the regional director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association.

"So a lot of it at that level is education and teaching, and not only the players but the parents and coaches and officials, how to deal with young children. Because they're competitive, but we're also trying to teach them the sport and have them move on successfully."

Stewart says they don't want to single out and embarrass people directly, but talk to them as events unfold and try to educate them as calmly as possible about what's OK. 

He says some parents don't understand the sport, and might not realize why certain calls are being made — why their children are getting, or not getting, foul calls — and they need to adjust to the game at that level. 

"If we called everything, if we call a scientific game, it would be three or four hours," he said, so refs let some violations go, and wants parents to understand that and sit back and enjoy the game. 

Brian McHugh/CBC

This year, the league is focusing on trying to stop people from booing or jeering the other team, but also from cheering for a foul at all.

"That's not really a pleasant thing to do, and we don't like to see the cheering afterwards," he said. "So we like to see the cheering for the good transition pass, or the nice layup, or the good play."

"We could be on a losing team all year, but we focus on the good things that we've done," he said.

"So play by play, and overall, I tell all my players that you're going to be better for touching the ball than you were if you didn't touch the ball."

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