Unique Program Promotes Sideline Cheerleaders
In AYSO, fans are asked to be cheerleaders, not critics. Kids Zone® is a unique program that includes a parent pledge that moms and dads sign to commit to positive, encouraging behavior when they’re watching the games. It also includes signs, buttons and other game-day reminders.
Soccer is a player’s game. Players learn the game by trying new things, making mistakes and trying again. Sideline critics who scream instructions at players or criticize referees or coaches just slow down the learning process and make it less fun for everyone.
Negative, even violent, behavior of players, coaches and parents involved in youth sports has become almost epidemic in the U.S. Kids Zone® is a proactive effort to counteract this trend.
As part of AYSO’s education agenda, Kids Zone®is a dynamic program aimed toward producing a thoroughly positive experience for everyone involved in youth soccer. To execute this program, four basic elements are involved:
- The Button. This is a pin-on button with the Kids Zone® logo. This is worn by program supporters at games and serves as a reminder of the importance of positive sideline behavior.
- The Sign. A large sideline poster, which lists positive behavior standards, designed to be posted at the entrance of participating fields. Parents and spectators who will abide by these standards are welcome — all others are not.
- The Pledge. AYSO requests all parents to sign a pledge that holds them to the Kids Zone®standards.
- The Video. This is a 12-minute documentary that introduces AYSO’s principles and its Kids Zone® action plan to new participants. Viewers will also watch a parent intervene to change another parent’s negative behavior. In order to make this program work, everyone must help!
Imagine you’re undertaking a fairly difficult task: assembling a piece of furniture with hieroglyphic instructions, filling out IRS Form 4562 on April 14, or standing on the highest rungs of a ladder painting the crown molding in your living room with 14-foot ceilings. Think it would help if someone yelled at you during the process? Of course not.