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Monday, October 13, 2014

If I Were A Coach

Ok first a disclaimer, I am not a coach. Some of you may say then I am not qualified to comment.   What I believe makes me qualified is that I am a parent.  I have seen it all over the years.   People seriously underestimate the power that coaches have over our children.   We put the physical and emotional well being of our children in their hands for months at a time.   Sometimes for years at a time.   Children are impressionable.   Period.  Some of these things are minor, some not.

Over the years here are some of the things I have seen.
  1. A coach injure a child just based on the fact that he really wanted to win.  He pitched someone for too long and then after he was already injured had him bunt (he was fast) and wanted to get him on base.  He quit baseball and never came back.
  2. Kids pulled from the game without any explanation.
  3. Coaches saying things like, "My child is the best hitter.  Are you kidding my child is one of the best players, I am not going to bench them no matter what kind of behavior they have on the field."
  4. Batting orders changed and when coaches asked why, no answer.
  5. Coaches actually telling other players on a team that the reason someone wasn't playing, "Are you kidding have you seen them, they can't hit!)  This was said within earshot of the player.
  6. Kids coming off the court/field after a good play and the coach saying, "Oh you did a (insert other player name here)!"
  7.  Swearing, screaming and yelling at players.
  8. Coaches getting into arguments and almost getting into fist fights.  Chest bumping, yelling, swearing, all in front of their kids.
  9. Coaches running onto the field screaming, "they are cheating, they aren't following the rules!"
  10. Coaches mimicking another team's player and saying, "Did you see her, (mimic them here) she looks like a moron!" - Loudly!
  11. I have seen a coach tell her pitcher to intentionally hit a batter.
  12. I have seen that same coach, flip off the other teams' players.
  13. A coach actually arrested and charged with criminal sexual assault, kidnapping and solicitation.

The lists could go on and on.  If you are going to choose to coach, please consider your temperament, are you patient, are you supportive, are you a yeller?  Also please consider why you are doing this?  Do you love the game?  Do you want to help the kids?  Be honest, are you doing it to promote your own child?  Please look deep on this one.

Then comes the topic of sportsmanship.  Sports are brutal.  I know there is a lot of smack talk that occurs in sports between players.  Here are some things I personally don't like.   It seems specifically softball & basketball - the girls can get real nasty!  We have never played soccer or lacrosse, but I have to assume it can get bad too!  That is one thing to like about volleyball - you stay on your own side of the court. :)

  1. When girl's are losing - they get physical (sometimes even when they are winning).  I watched a team at state where the same catcher intentionally shoved girls a extra hard when she could. It happened more than once in our game.   She even knocked the batting helmet off a girl and she was not trying to steal home.  Trust me, it is clear what is incidental and what is intentional.  Coaches should have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy on this one.    Check out this video:  Player Slams Into First Baseman Intentionally
  2. I know not everyone will believe in this, but I don't like the derogatory cheers.  Here are some softball examples:
    1. Pitcher walks a batter - "we like free bases, we like free bases"  I find it interesting that no one cheers - "we like strikeouts, we like strikeouts" or "we like errors, we like errors".   Yes I am a pitcher's Mom in both baseball and softball.  
    2. I have actually seen teams, coaches and parents cheer when someone gets hurt on the field.
    3. And let's not forget the time a girl bent our daughter's fingers back in the "good game" post game procession after losing to her.
    4. And of course refusing to say at or congratulate another player during that process.
    5. Again, related to pitchers - there are teams that like to scream and make loud animal noises when the other team is pitching.  I find it childish and immature.  Cheer for your team, cheer for the batter, but the scream and howl like an animal to try to get in someone's head I find to be poor sportsmanship.  
 Trust me, I also understand that pitchers need to be able to work through that.  When I  said something to a coach about the screaming during pitching, the response was, "She's 16 now, she has to deal with it.".  I disagree.  That is a coaching decision.  I wouldn't allow it.  Oh and by the way, she is 14.  This coach told them to cheer loudly when our daughter was in the circle.  The coach told me that.  There was a significant difference in the volume levels when our daughter went in compared to our other pitchers.  I find it immature, rude and  nasty.  It made it worse, that the girls doing this, are her team mates from other teams.  Supposedly her friends.  Go figure.  We actually had parents of players on that team apologize to us for their team's behavior.  At least someone has common sense.

As a coach if you let this type of behavior go on, you condone it.  If you emulate that behavior even worse.  Please teach kids good sportsmanship and exemplify good behavior yourselves.  

Directors of programs, don't leave your coaches on their own without being monitored (at least periodically).  Check in with the parents, other coaches, spectators.  Know what they do when you are not there.

I know - I never stepped up and coached.  I didn't have the skills and I knew it.  I was not an athlete.  Ask me to direct your kid's choirs, bands, orchestras, plays, musicals or help them audition and I'll be there for them.  I will support them, nurture them and teach them the equivalent of good sportsmanship in music and theatre.  

Here is the reality, these kids deal with so much.  Their egos are shattered at school on a daily basis. Why as a coach would you encourage behavior to bring other kids down?  I just don't understand it.  Teach your children and players to be fair, honest, kind.  Play hard, work hard, want to win, but treat people with respect. You would want them to live that way, wouldn't you?

Why do you think there is an entire generation of entitled pro football players?  

This is a pretty good read too:  Power of Positive Coaching

Am I an over protective parent?  Yes - absolutely.  Will I stop?  No - absolutely not!  Will I continue to teach my children to do what I consider to be the right thing?  Yes - ABSOLUTELY!

It is my opinion..  My Father, a very wise man, said, "You can't argue opinions."

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