RUBBER NECKING
                We tend to look around for the outrageous and the outlandish as a way to vent frustration about what’s happening in our own day to day existence. We can say, “Hey, I’m not so bad after all!” or “What a jerk that guy is!” but still pay attention to his or her behavior.  The athlete can be categorized in many negative ways.  But what we don’t understand is that when we do that, we are giving the athlete the attention he or she craves to fuel continued poor behavior.  It emboldens them.  Gives them the attention they are craving so they keep doing it.  They get the short term attention they desire. It becomes like a drug. They need more and more of it with less and less benefits and satisfaction.  Be careful we do not do the same kinds of things with our children and athletes.  Try to not reinforce negative behavior.  By continuing to play a player when they are playing poorly, just because they are one of your more talented players, a coach reinforces the fact that if you play poorly, and are talented, you get special treatment. 
                Some athletes think just like Madison Avenue.  Any publicity is good publicity. When coaches keep giving attention to poor behavior on and off the field, we encourage more of the same kind of behavior. It is really basic.  If a child misbehaves and the coaches keep talking to the child, making excuses for the behavior instead of disciplining the bad behavior, they just reinforce the behavior. A long winded lecture has the same result. The child sees our response as getting our attention so he continues the behavior.  Whether it is positive or negative attention, he’s still getting the attention he craves.  Frustration then grows. Coaches then resort to harsh tactics to verify frustration at the child when in reality the frustration is within.  The coach is enabling the child to disable his own growth.  The situation can become untenable.  The coach gets frustrated, the child gets frustrated…the cycle continues.
                Hard work and effort should be rewarded as much as talent.  In the long term, the life skills messages taught far outweigh the benefits of a short term win. It’s all about teamwork, effort, and having fun.  When you follow the rules and don’t try to be above them, when you set the example instead of being the exception, it is then that you realize the true purpose of youth sports.  It is enlightenment not entitlement.