Club tames its ugly par­ents

The Sunday Times - - News - JOSH ZIM­MER­MAN

A FO­CUS on stamp­ing out ugly side­line par­ents has earned the Fre­man­tle Netball As­so­ci­a­tion the in­au­gu­ral True Sport award.

Last sea­son, the as­so­ci­a­tion held near weekly tri­bunals to deal with rant­ing sup­port­ers who aimed abusive sprays at um­pires and play­ers, the ma­jor­ity of whom were chil­dren.

But af­ter adopt­ing the WA gov­ern­ment’s True Sport pro­gram, which tar­gets the win-at-all costs men­tal­ity preva­lent in Aus­tralian sports, FBA pro­mo­tions of­fi­cer Karen Wheat­land said the num­ber of dis­ci­plinary hear­ings had plum­meted this year.

She said the as­so­ci­a­tion had de­cided to take ac­tion af­ter a dif­fi­cult 2017 sea­son.

“It tends to be the dads a bit more than the mums mak­ing com­ments about de­ci­sions the um­pires make, or get­ting an­gry that their daugh­ter isn’t on the court,” Ms Wheat­land said.

“There were also oc­ca­sions where par­ents were be­ing very neg­a­tive or shout­ing at chil­dren on the court — both their own and other peo­ple’s kids.”

An ed­u­ca­tion drive based on the eight True Sport values, which in­clude “show re­spect”, “play fair”, “have fun” and “in­clude all” has dra­mat­i­cally re­duced ugly in­ci­dents.

The as­so­ci­a­tion also re­in­forces pos­i­tive be­hav­iour by hand­ing out prizes to play­ers, of­fi­cials or par­ents that dis­play the True Sport values.

“We have a very in­clu­sive com­mu­nity and also run an all-abil­i­ties netball com­pe­ti­tion,” Ms Wheat­land said.

FBA ac­cepted the gong at the Sport and Recre­ation In­dus­try Awards held at Op­tus Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

Sports: Charli Lang­shaw, 6, and Natalia Mc­Don­ald, 8, with par­ents Karen Wheat­land, Alex Lang­shaw, Sara Szyd­lowski and Dee Boni. Pic­ture: Justin Ben­son-Cooper

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