This is a topic I have written about often, but it bears repeating. Especially when it’s stated so well. We often talk about how softball (or any sport) is “for the kids.” But many times our actions don’t match our words, and it becomes clear it’s more about the coach and his/her record than the players. As this guest post points out, maybe it’s time to re-think how we conduct ourselves and become the people we’d like to see our players become. Oh, and if you’re anywhere near the Flower Mound, Texas area, be sure to check into lessons with him. – Ken
Guest post by Dana E. Maggs, Excel Hitting and Pitching
What kind of example are we setting for our kids? It is a question I have to ask myself often now.
As a coach I hear stories almost every week of a coach or parent losing their temper at a game. I hear stories of HS coaches heaping mental abuse on players, just to drive them off the team. With multiple complaints from parents. Yet the administration continues to ignore the parents. Protecting the coach.
I hear stories of recreational coaches screaming at umpires and walking off the field flipping them off as they get tossed.
I could keep going but the bottom line here is where is the accountability from those who are responsible for stopping this kind of behavior? Not only are they driving kids from a game they love but they are also setting a poor example of how to act like an adult.
We see those same kinds of examples now at the professional level. Just last night a Boston basketball player flipped off a fan at a game. I am sure his wallet will be much lighter for that action. So he will be held accountable for it.
But at the HS, Rec, and Select baseball and softball level there seems to be a lack of accountability from the governing organizations. There is NO excuse for this kind of behavior in my opinion.
Far too often I have had new students who have come to me with their confidence broken and their self esteem torn to shreds because of a coach or an overbearing parent. Do not be that parent. Do not be that coach.
A lot of this comes from a “compete and win at all costs” attitude. It’s not just in sport. Its now in everything you and your kids do in life. And when this happens all sense of responsibility disappears from the coaches and in some cases the parents as well.
Why are we putting so much pressure on them to win? You don’t go into the work place as an adult without training and development. You don’t progress without practice and development in sport.
Ultimately, if done correctly, you will win your fair share of games without putting pressure on the kids every time they step on the field of play. Regardless of the game they choose.
This kind of pressure often manifests itself on the child in ways that will affect them for life. Not just in their performance.
I see it in their body language. I see it in their attitude. I see it in their fear of making a mistake and them waiting to hear a negative comment from an adult.
I sometimes have to cross that line myself as an instructor. But how you go about it is the key to being that coach who wants you to understand that failure is how we learn to improve and get better.
Shouting and screaming at them will not do it. These kinds of behaviors by adults should result in immediate dismissal of the coach or banning parents from attending games based on behavior.
There needs to be a lot more accountability at every level of youth sports now. Not on the kids but on the adults. Sadly, it’s the kids who often pay the price and as a result leave the game they once loved to play.