What Makes A Proper Coach?

This blog post pretty much wrote itself yesterday evening. Once you see the subject matter you will be thankful that I waited until today to write it instead of last night. I still don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. My mind is going in so many directions that it’s kind of hard to pick a path and stick with it. We shall see!

Last night Michael had a soccer game. Now as a quick review about our high school soccer team we began high school in 2008 with a very BAD coaching situation. It was very discouraging for ALL the students (and parents). I think the first season the girls won 1 game. Thankfully in 2010 the soccer coaching staff got an overhaul. We were all relieved and excited to be starting fresh with young coaches who seemed to get along well with the players. It was a difficult transition because our players weren’t used to REALLY being coached. But it was good for them. Eventually they began to settle into the new routine and our teams have been better. We are all grateful for the school giving soccer a chance and throwing a little money our way so that our students could carry a sense of pride with them game to game.

Last night I learned a few things about our soccer coach (also a teacher at our school) and his behavior about/toward our boys. My kids have told me before about his behavior during halftime and post game talks with the team. It is a behavior that is NOT condusive to appropriate mentorship of students or even appropriate treatment from one person to another. Last night I discovered that at times this teacher joins in and agrees with other students who are picking on another player’s skills. And let me say that this is not done in a way to change behavior but more in a way that is hurtful to the student.

Let’s stop right here just a minute and discuss what a coach is. An effective coach not only teaches students the mechanics behind playing a sport. But he teaches teamwork, proper treatment of other teammates and the opposing team, good sportsmanship, respect not only to refs and coaches but to other players and he should also be exhibiting all of this behavior himself so that his players will be led by example. Belittling, name calling, cursing and disrespecting has NO PLACE on the sideline by players or, above all, COACHES! What does that type of coaching result in? A team full of one man teamplayers, belittling one another AND refs/coaches, cursing at team members and opposing teams and refs and other coaches. Above all it teaches that disrespect is ok and is a means to get what you want.

Did you know that cursing is against the rules in soccer? A player can be carded for cursing. In our case our refs should be carding some coaches as well. Cursing is UNACCEPTABLE! Not only is it rude and disrespectful but it has always been a sign to me of someone with limited vocabulary. Are you more likely to follow in the steps of someone who attempts to guide you via cursing, yelling and belittling? Of course not! What makes an adult think that is an appropriate means of coaching teenagers? That is the most ridiculous excuse for “leading” I have heard of. You expect your players to respect you when you talk to them and treat them that way.

I understand that it is difficult to be a teacher. I know it’s frustrating having your hands tied. I know all of those teenagers all day long can get on your nerves. However, you choose the teaching profession. I believe teaching is a calling. Not everyone can do it. And if a teacher has resorted to leading in the manner I have seen then they either 1) need disciplining themselves by their upline or 2) need a new job.

Ron and I have never allowed our children to quit anything they have started. There has been once before when Lauren was about 8 when she had a very tough (but very disciplined) soccer coach. It was a bad fit. He taught her a lot of what she knows today but he had a very gruff way of communicating. It was too much for her. So we allowed her to move teams. But we have always told the kids if they committed to a team then they were going to stay committed. Quitting was never allowed. And all of you know that soccer is our game. We eat, sleep and breathe soccer. But last night when we got home we had a family meeting with Michael and we gave him permission to quit soccer. I’m very proud of him because he said he couldn’t just quit – that we had always taught them not to quit – and even though he was very unhappy with the immaturity of his team members and the disrespect displayed he felt like he would be letting them all down. If you know Michael then you know that he is wise and mature beyond his years. He happens to have a good relationship with this coach. He and the coach have more of a peer relationship than a player/coach relationship. While he doesn’t agree with coach’s methods he understands his frustration. We pointed out that coach is only going to receive the amount of respect that he gives to them. So as of now Michael is choosing not to quit. I’m very proud of him.

But I am very disgusted with this coach. One player walked off the field in the middle of the game and quit the team last night. Another one was on his way after being ridiculed by coach and his teammates during games and at school. Ron and I stopped him and calmed him down. As a concerned parent Ron and I will be dealing with this matter in one manner or another. This is not how you lead students. This is not how you treat OTHER PEOPLE in general. Someone needs some correcting or nothing is going to get better.

I’m on it!


9 thoughts on “What Makes A Proper Coach?

  1. Amen Sister! Our family too eats & breathes soccer. My son, Josh, is a great soccer goalie and player. He did not even try out for the high school soccer team because of what he knows and has heard about the coach, who curses too, at his players. My son is very tenderhearted and does not do well in that environment.

    Hope things turn out well in this whole situation.


  2. Wow! Kind of sounds like “Coach” needs a class in sportsmanship or better yet, to be fired! A good coach will work with ALL players, learn and utilize their strengths and find ways to encourage those skills. As a former coach, I am proud to say I have ‘benched’ a few players due to their unsportsmanship conduct and, benched a few parents as well. Good luck to you.

    • Ron has coached Rec league soccer a few years. His style is always gentle and about building them up. I din’t get it how this coach thinks his methodology is beneficial to anyone.

  3. I am glad you are taking a stand. I really hope it helps. Last year when some issues came up with an individual players and the captains, including Michael, tried to approach the coach about it, they were told that they did not have the right attitude. I was beyond frustrated at that point. I gave Gary permission at that point last year to quit. I felt like Gary was treated unfairly the entire year last year and belittled by other players and the coach as well. I feel that was one of the reasons he was not going to play along with his medical issues, but then his love of the game and the fact that he has some really close friends on the team, he changed his mind. As I stated in my face book comment, the coach just ignored his request to play. It was not because he missed conditioning, because the majority of the team did as well including some of his star players. I just don’t understand him, and I hope it gets better for the ones that stay. I am glad that Jacob chose Football because I believe they are better coaches overall. I don’t think they are perfect, but much better.

    • Anita, I know you all have had a bad time w/soccer for Gary all the way around. I’m sad he’s not out there (and I don’t get to see you) but I certainly understand. Stick w/football!

      • If I can get to feeling better and it warms up I might make an appearance or too! I still enjoy the game and have watched some of these boys play since middle school.

  4. Sooooo true! Thats when my daughter quit a a young age. I always encourage mine to follow through with anything they start, but in this case she was so young and it got way out of hand. Its sad that more people do not stand up against this kind of behavior. I think people that act like this those that bully are insecure about themselves so much that they pick on others to feel in control. Hope these people get to know our friend “conviction” and turn their life around!

    • Lisa, you are so right! I can’t stand to be witness to belittling or disrespect (of adults OR kids). I was very close to cutting lose on a group of rough looking teens at last night’s game for making fun of someone. I was giving them ONE MORE TIME in my head and then I was gonna take a little walk up the stands and say something. Thankfully they shut up. They must have read my mind. 😉

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