Parents shouting at GAA kids may lead to silent games

The GAA is considering having some underage games played in total silence in an effort to stop over-enthusiastic parents shouting at children.

GAA president Liam O’Neill said that shouting at children, especially admonishing them, during games was unacceptable and lowered their self-esteem.

Now he is considering having U-6 and U-8 games being played in silence in an effort to stamp out the practice.

“I worry all the time about how people in 50 years’ time are going to view us in the GAA at the moment and what they are going to say about us and say ‘look what they did in 2014’, and I think we have to look into our hearts and examine what we’re doing.

“We put children out on the field sometimes, we feel it’s okay to shout at them, we lower their self-esteem and we don’t realise that when we shout at a child you’re actually too late because he or she has already made the mistake and you can’t do anything about it.

“So we’re sending negative messages to the them and the appeal I have made to people is, not to do that, not to lower a child’s self-esteem because if you lower a child’s self-esteem by a derogatory remark, it takes 20 positive remarks to take the child’s self-esteem up to where he or she was before the comment was made,” he said.

The GAA made the issue one of their priorities for the U-14 Féile Peil na nÓg tournament which was hosted by Connacht counties last weekend.

The GAA president and other officials visited schools and clubs in the build-up to the tournament, which featured U-14 football clubs from all over the country, and made the appeal to parents and team officials.

But despite the appeal there were incidents at the tournament of over-excited parents and team coaches roaring at children.

The finals took place at the Connacht GAA Centre at Bekan on Sunday when 10,000 watched the finals in various grades of a competition which featured over 2,000 children.

“The message I gave before that Féile, I spoke to coaches, and before the Féile na Gael event when I visited schools and I visited clubs, was that I wanted people to stop shouting at children.”


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