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New Survey Explores Sportsmanship

06/10/2014, 12:00pm MDT
By USAHockey.com

With hockey season wrapping up, a new national survey of 2,000 youth sports parents and coaches by Liberty Mutual Insurance illuminates a troubling decline in what some would say is the most important lesson of youth sports: sportsmanship.  The results generated new resources and information available to help address this important issue head on.

The survey reveals that sportsmanship is considered among the most important lessons taught by youth sports.  Regrettably, approximately 50 percent of parents and coaches believe that sportsmanship has worsened in youth sports since they participated as children, while only 12 percent feel it has improved.  Yet, survey results suggest it may be their own behaviors that are contributing to this perception: 

  • 60 percent of respondents reported either witnessing or participating in negative or abusive sideline behavior
  • 26 percent of parents said they have witnessed a verbally abusive coach, and 16 percent of parents said they have witnessed a physical confrontation between parents
  • 55 percent of coaches have experienced parents yelling negatively at officials or their own kids, and two in five have experienced parents yelling negatively at other kids

Further, 75 percent of parents and coaches say that teaching sportsmanship is the responsibility of parents.  With 80 percent of parents responding to the survey claiming to play an active role in their child’s youth sports experience, the challenge isn’t parental involvement; it’s taking the time to instill the value of sportsmanship in their children.

“Growing up as a youth athlete, my coaches and parents were constantly using examples of poor behavior on the field as an opportunity to teach me about the importance of sportsmanship,” said actor Chris O’Donnell, a father of five and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports ambassador.  “Those lessons have stuck with me over the years, and now as a father of children involved in youth sports, I know the opportunity lies with us as parents to have the conversation and reinforce this important life lesson.”

Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports provides just the types of resources that parents need to have a meaningful discussion with their children about sportsmanship and other aspects of the youth sports experience that extend into everyday life:

  • Start with a simple question, “What Is Sportsmanship?" – focus conversation on abiding by rules and respecting opponents and officials and teammates
  • Explain that sportsmanship doesn’t have an off switch – reinforce that sportsmanship is important win or lose, even on the practice fields
  • Commit to Mom and Dad’s role in sportsmanship – express that your child’s effort and learning is more important than wins and losses and that leading by example is the best way to exhibit sportsmanship

“The value of sportsmanship is an essential part of developing youth athletes into responsible adults,” said Anthony Storm, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance. “Through this survey, we have pinpointed that sportsmanship is on the decline and there is a greater need for parents to reinforce this important life lesson.  Our Responsible Sports program provides the resources and tips to properly arm parents for this discussion.”

More results from the survey, as well as the wide range of resources, tools and information that Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports offers to support youth sports parents and coaches who help children succeed both on and off the field, can be found at ResponsibleSports.com.  Parents and coaches can join the conversation by visiting the Responsible Sports Facebook page

About the Study

As a leading resource in youth sports, Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program commissioned ORC International to conduct a national survey to uncover attitudes and perspectives towards youth sportsmanship in both parents and youth coaches.  2,000 parents and coaches of 7-12 year olds who participate in organized youth sports participated in the survey, resulting in a margin of error +/- 1.99%.

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility and integrity shown by people every day. We created Responsible Sports, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance

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Update on 2015-16 USA Hockey Officiating Registration

07/08/2015, 5:15pm MDT
By David LaBuda, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief

District Referees-in-Chief implement changes to registration procedures

As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION
For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.

REGISTRATION PROCESS

Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.

This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.

This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.

EXAM PROCESS
The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.

While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.

If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.

IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.


Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.

We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.

SUMMARY
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

  • Register online with USA Hockey
  • Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
  • Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
  • Pass the open-book exam at their registration level
  • Pass the closed-book exam (no closed-book exam at Level 1) for their registration level
  • Complete their online USA Hockey SafeSport training at the end of every two-year cycle

 

Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward.  Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process.  Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.

Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.

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