Let kids be kids at footy
BULLDOGS champ Scott West has a message for unruly parents spoiling suburban sport — let kids be kids.
The former AFL star and father of four is now an under-15s coach at Strathmore footy club in Melbourne’s northwest.
He said some mums and dads took the game far too seriously — yelling at juniors, abusing officials and telling kids to physically target their opponents.
That behaviour had left some youngsters in tears.
“The behaviour of some parents is disgusting,’’ West said.
“I feel like they are living their dreams through their kids — you can hear them at halftime berating them.
“It’s not about that, it’s about encouragement — we want kids to play and have the freedom to play.”
West — whose boys are aged 17 to 9 — has coached juniors for four years and is the club’s coaching director.
The club rotates its under11s to 13s through the mid, back and forward lines so each gets a chance to learn new skills regardless of their build while the under-15s to 17s rotate two positions.
There is zero tolerance of parents who misbehave.
“I’m not saying our club is full of angels, but we do have an expectation that any unruly parent brought in is told in no uncertain terms their behaviour is unacceptable,’’ West said.
“They can have their membership fee back and go to another club — or pull their head in.”