"ST. LOUIS (AP) - A study of youth sports found evidence of cheating, taunting, even intentionally trying to hurt an opponent.
And the bad behavior wasn't limited to the kids. Some coaches admitted yelling at athletes - even verbally abusing them, and some players said they were struck.
Among the findings:
- Nearly one in 10 young athletes admitted cheating.
- 13 percent said they have tried to hurt an opponent.
- 31 percent had argued with an official.
- 13 percent had made fun of a less-skilled teammate.
- 27 percent had acted like "bad sports.''
"Even more disturbing is the number of coaches whose behavior fosters unhealthy climates,'' said Brenda Bredemeier, another author and associate professor of education at Missouri-St. Louis.
Seven percent of coaches encouraged athletes to cheat, and 8 percent encouraged their athletes to hurt an opponent, the young athletes told researchers. No coaches admitted either encouraging cheating or injury.
But more than one-third of coaches said they yelled at players for making mistakes, and one-fifth made fun of a team member.
Four percent of athletes said their coaches had hit, kicked or slapped them."
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