USU professor studying ways to limit bad parent behavior at youth games

Sep 26, 2022, 10:42 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Parents behaving badly at youth sporting events is growing more common across the nation and something we’ve seen play out here in Utah in recent weeks.

Dr. Travis Dorsch, associate professor at Utah State University and founder of the Families in Sport Lab, has been studying the ongoing problem and looked at the issue as a former athlete and now a parent of young athletes.

His studies show that when parents have their kids participate in a highly competitive culture and over involve themselves in their kids’ performance, they can often lose perspective and lash out.

Passion for the game can erupt onfield in a bad light.

Several parents, players and coaches were suspended after a brawl broke out at a youth football game in Herriman.

Ute Conference Football suspends coaches, parents, players after brawl on the field

Dorsch says this aggressive behavior is becoming all too common.

“We can’t divorce the parent experience from the emotions that go along with seeing with having a kid out there performing,” he said.

Dorsch is the founder of the Families in Sports lab. He’s interviewed dozens of parents, athletes and coaches and compiled strategies and tips to keep these behaviors in check.

“So, as not to embarrass themselves, embarrass their children and or kind of ruin the experience for everybody involved,” he said.

Dorsch said parents need to keep a balanced perspective and focus on the potential impact of their behavior on their children and manage their anger. Walk away or count to 10.

He also suggests sports programs communicate clear expectations with parents up front.

“The kids feel better about their parents’ involvement. They feel less pressure. They feel more motivated and more engaged in sports,” Dorsch said.

Dorsch says there’s no manual for parenting in sports, but it’s important that every league have an agreement with parents that spells out clear rules, appropriate behavior and penalties if they are not followed.

For a look at more studies on youth sports, click here.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

[File] Utah Highway Patrol State Trooper car (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)...

Larry D. Curtis

Child struck, critically injured by tractor near Coalville

A tractor hit a 5-year-old boy who darted into the road, critically injuring the child.

1 year ago

(FILE) Police vehicles are parked outside the South Jordan Police Department on Friday, April 24, 2...

Michael Houck

Police: Three teens hospitalized after crashing into wall in South Jordan

Three teenagers were injured after crashing into a concrete wall Tuesday morning, police say.

1 year ago

Elephants Zuri and Christie will be transferred from Utah's Hogle Zoo to another accredited facilti...

Josh Ellis

Elephants leaving Utah’s Hogle Zoo after more than 100 years of care

Utah's Hogle Zoo elephants Christie and Zuri will be transferred to another accredited zoo, ending the zoo's continuous care of elephants after more than 100 years.

1 year ago

The town of Hideout wants to annex hundreds of acres from Summit County and Wasatch County, includi...

Michael Houck

Landowners in-between Hideout and Kamas file for township

A group of Summit County landowners filed to incorporate as a new town called West Hills Tuesday.

1 year ago

(Chopper 5)...

Debbie Worthen

Residents meet with Draper leaders to find out what’s next for neighborhood after landslide

Dozens of Suncrest residents met with Draper city leaders for a town hall-style meeting two weeks after the ground below two homes collapsed and sent them sliding down the mountainside.

1 year ago

Flooding temporarily closed state Route 39 in Ogden Canyon Tuesday morning. (Utah Department of Pub...

Josh Ellis

Utah roads, parks close due to flooding and high runoff levels

Several roads were closed due to flooding Tuesday morning, and warm temperatures will keep rivers and creeks running high throughout the day.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...

Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...

Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.

notebook with password notes highlighted...

PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.

USU professor studying ways to limit bad parent behavior at youth games