Direct bullying includes aggressive behaviors that occur in the presence of the target.

Indirect bullying behaviors occur when the target isn’t present.

Lesson PDF

Get a printable version of this Lesson.

TrueSport Program

A robust expert-based resource library with athletes, parents, and coaches in mind.

Coaching Education

Become a TrueSport Certified Coach by completing the three education modules.

Bullying Prevention: Quick-Hitters

Bullying is common in sports, so if you see bullying on a team, tell your coach or another adult.
Trust your instincts. If you think the way somebody is being treated is wrong, you are probably right.
Despite differences, everybody deserves to be treated with respect.

Bullying Prevention: The Basics

What is bullying?

“Any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths…that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.” —The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Bullying can be either direct or indirect.

  • Direct bullying includes aggressive behaviors that occur in the presence of the target: name-calling, punching, humiliating, intimidating.
  • Indirect bullying behaviors occur when the target isn’t present: spreading rumors, cyber-bullying, destruction to property.

Bullying Prevention: Ambassador Story

Watch this Ambassador Story with Jessica Long or read the lesson aloud.

Jessica Long holding her paralympic gold medal

Paralympic Swimming gold medalist Jessica Long discusses how bullying is common in sports, and that when it comes to bullying, you should trust your instincts. If you think somebody is being mistreated, then you are probably right; if you witness bullying, you should tell an adult. She adds that bullies like to pick on people who are different, such as herself. Jessica was born in Russia, where she was placed in an orphanage. When she was 13 months old, she was adopted by an American family. Besides being an orphan, Jessica was also born without the lower parts of her legs.

Jessica recalls a time when she was on a playground and another young girl saw her disability and started making fun of her. The girl commented that she didn’t want to “catch” what Jessica had. This hurt Jessica’s feelings, but she still grew up with a strong sense of self-confidence and the belief that everybody deserves to be treated with respect. Being a TrueSport means treating everybody with respect, having zero tolerance for bullying, and always speaking up if they see it occurring.

Ambassador Story Questions

1. What was the main point you took away from the lesson?

2. Have you ever been in a situation like Jessica’s, where you were treated unfairly becuase you are different?

3. How can you help prevent bullying in sports and in school?

keep reading