Reasons why players might bully:
- One of the leaders does not like the player, others join in
- Harass/blame a player for a mistake, especially after a loss
- Attempt to eliminate competition for positions and playing time
- Gifted athletes are sometimes targets because of jealousy
- Some players don't want to share the limelight
What coaches can do:
- Be a good role model at all times
- Ensure a culture of acknowledging contributions by all players, not just the ones more skilled
- Sit the bully; explain what you want regarding improved behaviour. He or she may be upset, but the rest of the team will respect/appreciate your actions.
Players, who are bullies, often have a parent who is a bully, in some cases both exhibit this characteristic, or come from a household which is too permissive. Confronting them probably won't go well, but you still need to convey to them what kind of behaviour you expect from players. Unfortunately, parents of bullies often move their child from program to program, without addressing the behaviour problem.
What parents can do if their child is being bullied:
- Notify the coach; they may not be aware of what is going on
- Explain to your child some ideas on how to cope with the bully. Often, they will choose the best ideas/methods on how to deal with it. In some cases, they may originate a better approach than what the parents have proposed.
- Support your child. Look for positive aspects of the game, and try to attend their baseball/sport events as often as you can. Sometimes, your presence may improve the bully's behaviour towards your child.
- In a few cases, especially if you have known the parents previously, it may help to contact them. However, this should be a last resort.
- Try your best to not let your child quit the sport. Too many good things happen from athletic endeavours to let someone else push your child away from the sport.
What can a teammate do if they see another teammate being bullied:
- Confront the bully and ask him/her to stop. You may cause a stir that day, but you will win the respect of many, and the appreciation of the person being bullied.