Little League® Baseball and Softball updated the Child Protection Program prior to the 2021 season, which includes an added section on Bullying and Emotional Wellness. The policy was updated to provide guidance to leagues on how to prevent bullying in their program while promoting emotional wellness for their players.
Little League has zero tolerance for the following type of behaviors:
- Physical Bullying
- Verbal Bullying
- Emotional Bullying
- Social and Cyber Bullying
Any individual that engages in any of the above behaviors or commits violence and/or acts of intimidation should be prohibited from participating in Little League. This includes player-to-player, player-to-adult, adult-to-player, and adult-to-adult interactions.
If a situation occurs at a Little League event, including practices, games, and other approved events, both parties should be removed from the situation until the issue is resolved. This could mean removing the individual for the remainder of the event to fully de-escalate the situation. For support on conflict resolution, watch this presentation from Darrell Burnett, Ph.D., is a sports psychologist, father of three, former Little League® Coach, and was long-time member of the Little League International Board of Directors.
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) offers resources for coaches, parents, athletes, and volunteers on how to not only create a great athlete but an overall better leader in the community. One great resource that leagues can implement is a Parents Pledge, which promotes a positive youth sports experience by reinforcing the standards of the league. If the parent enforces a “no bullying” stance, this will create a cultural norm for their children.
Volunteers should encourage players to enjoy their experience by promoting a safe, fun, and player-centric environment and not focusing only on winning. Volunteers should remind parents, players, and volunteers that the goal of Little League is to offer opportunities for children to learn and grow! Additional resources are available at LittleLeague.org/Sportsmanship.