We didn’t realize when we published A Bad Coach for All Seasons that it would require a Part 2, but the comments we got from sports coaches and parents on LinkedIn necessitated a follow up post. Many were wondering what made that “bad” coach so bad, as that would dictate the next best steps for our sports mom to follow. As one Boston-area soccer coach pointed out, “An excellent concept and expands the nature of the discussion – how do we (coaches, parents, players and administrators) define “bad” in coaching? Clearly it encompasses numerous, disparate or sometimes conflicting issues depending upon the environment (i.e., individual versus team development and running a financially viable and dynamic organization).”
So we reached out to our sports mom and here’s the whole story of why she thinks her daughter is stuck with a bad coach;
The team is a town “travel” team, so there are no other teams in the age division to move her to. I cannot volunteer to coach as this is considered competitive & I have no credentials. The team appears to have their set “starters”, a select one or two who tend to play the entire game. What makes it particularly irksome is that these players will often raise their arm asking to be subbed out, & the coaches will leave them in, while the parents scream at the kids to “put your arm down & play”. Why not give them a rest & a drink, giving the other girls a chance to play? The team plays 8 vs. 8 now, so you have 10 other girls who are left waiting to be subbed into one of two or three positions for, at best, 5 minutes. There have been many games where some of the kids never get off the bench at all.
Further, the coaches don’t seem to rein in the poor behavior of the parents, many of whom scream & boo at the referees and not only try to coach from the sidelines, but belittle players and cheer when opposing team players are injured. I have contacted the coach in seasons past regarding my daughter’s abilities & been assured that “she’s doing fine” yet she seems to have become conditioned to thinking she’s not a good player & that her only role when she is on the field is to step back when one of the “starters” takes over her position & calls her off the ball. It is frustrating for her & heartbreaking for me as a parent. She shows up early for every practice & every game, adheres to every instruction, is respectful & obedient. She has put her all into additional fitness training to improve her speed & agility which her coach has been apprised of, but there has been no payoff for her efforts. After a recent loss, I asked her how she was feeling about it & she said, “It’s not like I had anything to do with it.” She had been put in for the last 2 minutes of the 1st half.
Since my initial post, she had a birthday on a practice night & wanted to bring cupcakes for the team. As she went to throw away the box, the team’s manager decided to take a team picture; not a single player, nor the coach or asst. coach waited for her to rejoin the team for the photo. She will finish out the season, but we most definitely will not return & I am cautious about allowing my younger daughter to continue in the club.
It seems like our soccer mom has approached the coach on more than one occasion but nothing has changed. And from her description of the other parents on the team it doesn’t sound like she’d get much support from them either. In fact, the other parents might be an even bigger problem than the coach! And we definitely want to help her improve the situation for her daughter. Situations like this can make a kid want to quit youth sports because they aren’t having fun, they don’t get any time on the field, and they don’t see the point in even trying after a while.