Parents & Coaches - What is the Pledge Not 2 Sledge?

Summer Hill Cricket Club is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our members so they can train and play in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our club. If bullying does occur, either towards members of other teams or towards members of Summer Hill teams, it will be dealt with directly by the club promptly and effectively.

Sledging is a form of bullying and bullying can take a wide variety of forms.

Bullying is the use of aggression with the intention of hurting or unsettling another person. 

Bullying can be:

  • Emotional : being unfriendly, excluding and ignoring someone as though they don’t exist, tormenting (eg removing or hiding someone else’s kit without their permission, threatening gestures), causing someone to feel afraid
  • Physical : pushing, kicking, hitting, punching or any use of violence, damaging, physically man-handling someone under the guise of ‘horseplay’, making physical threats
  • Racist : racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
  • Sexual : unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments, expressing sexual comments about another person
  • Homophobic : because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality
  • Verbal : name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing, putting down, ridiculing 
  • Social/Cyber : All areas of internet, such as e-mail, Twitter & Facebook. Mobile threats by text messaging and calls. 

Everybody has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Members of Summer Hill CC who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving.

Sledging is mostly thought off as behaviour directed towards your opponents but it can also be directed at your own team mates and too often is.

  • It is not acceptable to sledge players in an opposing team.
  • It is not acceptable to sledge a member of your own team.
  • Don’t do to others what you do not want done to you. 

Sledging or bullying a member of your own team is just as unsporting as sledging or bullying a member of an opposing team. 

Summer Hill CC will not tolerate its members bullying members of their own teams. Not only is this behaviour unsporting, it damages the prospects of your own team by discouraging the team players you need to depend on to successfully play cricket. Cricket is a team sport, without all your team mates, you cannot play cricket. It’s all about the social contract and the most successful contract is one that does not contain sledging and bully of your own team mates, nor of your opponents.


Some Common Misconceptions

I was just mucking around, can’t he take a joke?
This is the most common response from the bully. In fact, bullying is not a ‘joke’. It is not funny to ridicule or hurt someone, to make them feel uncomfortable, or to push them around.
I don’t want to cause trouble.”
This misconception comes from the victim, who thinks that they are the cause of the problem. All players have a right to feel safe at the cricket ground. You are only standing up for
yourself when you report being bullied.
It is just a natural part of growing up.”
This misconception often comes from adults, but the truth is that there is absolutely
nothing ‘natural’ about being victimised. Players have a ‘right’ to feel safe at the cricket ground.
No-one can do anything about it.”
Most cases of bullying are sorted out very simply, especially if the bullying is reported
sooner rather than later. SHCC is committed to solving these sorts of problems, but
players must communicate with their coaches and managers and the committee, if we are to have any chance of helping.
Dobbing is a bad thing to do.”
Bullying is the bad thing, telling the truth is a good thing. By telling the truth you are
standing up for your rights as a human being. It takes character and intelligence to
stand up for your rights, which is something that bullies are afraid of. Bullies try to
intimidate people into maintaining a ‘code of silence’ because they can then continue to
hurt other people for as long as they wish. Bullying continues when people fail to report
what is happening.

The Pledge Not 2 Sledge is a voluntary commitment we are asking our junior players and their team officials to make. 

What is sledging?

Sledging is: any remarks designed to break a player’s  concentration or confidence.
While some professional cricketers have developed notoriety as sledgers, the SHCC Committee believes there is no place for sledging in junior cricket. We see it as a form of bullying. DON’T DO IT.

Sledging is also criticising or bagging players on your own team when they make an error. We all make errors, some forced, some unforced. If you’ve ever made an error then you are in no position to bag a team mate for making an error. We are not all equal in terms of our abilities on the cricket field. There will always be players who are better and worse than you in various skills. Showing off your better abilities by dumping on players who aren’t as good as you is sledging your team mate – DON’T DO IT.

Sledging is not: talking up the field, encouraging the bowler and good-natured talk amongst the fielding side. These are all encouraged as a positive aspect of teamwork. Players should always look for positive things to say to other players in their team, particularly when something goes wrong, like a dropped catch or a mis-field. Instead of being negative, make suggestions about how the player could readjust their playing style. DO IT.

Why does SHCC want to take a stand against sledging?

Sledging kills the fun of cricket!

Sledging most threatens the very players that we believe cricket should support. If kids are ridiculed or threatened while they are playing, it follows that they will not enjoy themselves and will not want to keep playing. This is not in the interests of the game or the individual.

The Spirit of Cricket, in the MCC Laws of Cricket, stipulates that teams shall not “direct abusive language towards an opponent or umpire.” Our Pledge Not 2 Sledge is one of the ways our club can ensure SHCC teams play according to the Spirit and the Laws of Cricket.
Sledging is against the Spirit of Cricket. We want our players to learn to be good sports – an important life skill on and off the field. Part of good sportsmanship is learning to lose with grace and win with humility. Sledging has no part in good sportsmanship.

How to deal with sledging from other teams

What if other teams sledge us?
We can’t control the behaviour of other teams. We can only ensure a fair and respectful standard in our own game which we hope will be returned in kind by our opponents.

If an opposition team engages in sledging, it is appropriate for a team captain or coach to raise their concerns with the umpire and to have a discussion with the opposition coach and ask for the sledging to stop. Talking to a batter as the bowler runs in should not be tolerated. Fielders are not allowed to speak to a batter while the bowler is running in. This is very bad sportsmanship. If this happens, notify your coach immediately.

However this may not always eliminate the problem.

For batters, building effective partnerships and maintaining concentration are key defences against sledging. It is important for batters to work as partners, supporting each other with clear calls and positive comments about your batting. Chatting mid pitch between overs, and tapping gloves after boundaries and other successful plays builds confidence. The stronger this partnership, the less any sledging can affect either batter. Support from the sidelines will also help – from teammates and other spectators – encouraging teammates in the middle. Batters may also develop their own techniques to help them concentrate on the ball rather than on any sledging from opponents. Telling yourself to “focus” as the bowler runs in can help block out anything the opposition may say to you. 

As a coach, it is your responsibility to teach your players these ways to deal with comments from sledgers. 

Sledging generally stops if you start outplaying your opponents and get them on the back foot, so outplay them rather than responding in kind. Sledging can backfire on sledgers as it can cause the sledgers to lose focus on the game leading to unforced errors by the sledgers.

Ultimately team officials and parent groups will need to support our kids to do the right thing when it comes to sledging – that is, Pledge Not 2 Sledge.

Signs of bullying

A young player may indicate by signs or behaviour that he or she is being bullied. Adults should be aware of these possible signs and that they should investigate if a young player:

Says they are being bullied
Changes their usual routine
Is unwilling to go to the club
Becomes withdrawn, anxious, or lacking in confidence
Has possessions which are damaged
Is frightened to say what is wrong

These signs and behaviours may indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.


Procedures

Report bullying incidents to the coach or Club Child Welfare Officer (or Club Committee Member)
The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
An attempt will be made to help the bully (or bullies) change their behaviour.
Parents should be informed and will be asked to come in to a meeting to discuss the problem.
In cases of serious bullying, the incidents will be reported to the State Cricket Association for advice and C&WSCA notified.
If necessary and appropriate, police will be consulted.


Prevention

The following steps of a non-compliance strategy will be followed if anyone breaches the SHCC  Pledge Not 2 Sledge Policy.

Assume the person is unaware of the policy.
A club representative will approach the person breaching the policy and ask them to refrain from the behaviour and remind them about the policy and why it matters.
If an offence continues, a senior club member will verbally warn them again and hand over a formally written letter or behaviour contract to sign and return. The letter will outline the Pledge Not To Sledge Policy and state that if the person continues the behaviour they will be asked to leave.
If the bullying does continue then the player will be reported directly to the State or Territory Cricket Association and asked to leave the club and C&WSCA notified.

If you are being bullied and the bullying has become repetitious, then you must:
• Tell someone as soon as possible. Tell your parent and coach or team manager or the Club Child Welfare Officer.
You must tell someone so that you can receive assistance.
• When you tell someone about being bullied you are not being ‘weak’ or a “dobber”, rather you are being both truthful and smart. You are not the problem. The problem is the bully,
who needs help. Bullies will never get the help they need if you cover up for them.
• SHCC will address your complaint. The situation will be investigated. The bully will be spoken to and helped. The bully will be counselled and warned about reoffending and punishment may be avoided in the first instance. You will be contacted in the weeks and months later to make certain that the bullying has stopped.


At this initial stage, our goal is to counsel and proceed, if at all possible, without recourse
to punishments. Parents of both the offending boy and the victim will be advised, by
telephone or letter, after the coach and committee has resolved the matter.

At the second stage, after investigations by the coach and committee have confirmed the facts of the bullying, the re-offending boy will be counselled and the parents of the offending boy will be notified by letter and put on notice that their son’s behaviour must change if he is to remain at SHCC.

The third stage, after investigations have concluded that the bullying has in fact become
habitual and that the boy has not responded to counselling and/or punishments, then SHCC may decide to exercise its power of expulsion.