Let kids be kids at footy

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - WES HOSK­ING

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.”

Scott West

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