I am a high school teacher, but not a coach. I honestly believe that coaches
should receive greater compensation. They put in a lot of hours to help kids
develop their skills. Some coaches, like a volleyball coach that I know of,
choose to be crooked and "steal" from fundraisers. Fortunately for this
guy, there were no criminal charges brought against him, but he did lose his
coaching and teaching job. You have to have a thick skin to be a
coach, but you also need to have integrity.
Everyone needs a good excuse these days. Uncle Rico would still be in the NFL if
only. Our society has decided its easier to cry discrimination, racism, sexism
whatever ism you can make fit. Its alot easier than taking responsible and
working to better ones self.
Thank you, Amy, for a wonderful article! If we are really doing what’s
best for kids we are showing them how to develop character!
Originally ALL athletic events in jr. and senior high school was physical
education. Then they began playing on teams from the same school, and that
evolved into competition between schools. The biggest problem I have with this
entire sports program thing is how it ONLY favors the biggest, strongest, most
athletic students. The vast majority of students have no real opportunity to
participate, especially when parents get involved. Today the schools are
holding news conferences, assemblies and travel time (with buses) for these
entitled students. While I understand that there are "fees", those fees
don't come close to covering the actual costs of these special programs. I
say that if the Department of Education were really concerned about their
budgets, they should return these programs to the original physical activity
programs they were originally designed to be. We all like sports, but if they
want this stuff, form after school clubs to compete with other schools.
As an ex-high school coach in Davis county UT, I can attest that half the
parents are a joke and a share of the kids are entitled. I'm not
saying all the players ate entitled but the ones who are are the worst. No
regard for the team, only in it for themselves. But yet when you ask more for
the entitled they go right to mom or dad and say that the coach isn't being
With educational funding tight, with club sports so readily available, and with
the problems in inter-scholastic sports Amy highlights, it is past time to
eliminate inter-scholastic sports.All the real benefits of sports
can be had at lower cost and offered to far more students through an intra-mural
program with several different leagues based on ability. Just as schools have
beginning, intermediate, advanced, and performing bands and choirs, they ought
to offer several different teams for the various sports. Games should be played
within in a school and with teams from other schools, but without playoffs or
championships. Every team plays a set number of games with the emphasis on
improving individual and team abilities, rather than winning trophies or
bragging rights. Playing multiple sports or having non sport activities in the
off season should be encouraged.Parents and kids who want a highly
competitive experience, should join and fund club teams.Taxpayers
should fund education for all, not recreation for a privileged few.
I think club sports are what is killing the high school sports model. Parents
think their child deserves the playing time because of the extra work they do in
club sports, not realizing that every kid on the team has put in the same amount
of time in the same club atmosphere. As far as coaches putting in
off season programs, not only do the coaches want to win and need those programs
to develop kids, they make money off of those camps & clinics, they
don't put them on just for fun, they do it to supplement the measly pay
they get for coaching.
H.S. sports too often is a microcosm of the real world: laziness, entitlement,
zero self-discipline, disappearing work ethic, disrespectfulness,
selfishness....and the list is endless. I could turn this into a political
diatribe, but not going there.It REALLY is about the young athletes. But
there is lots of good stuff out there. Fortunately our area has fabulous
live theater where youth who are not athletic can get involved and develop
talents in other ways.It is so refreshing to see the positive side of
athletes, coaches, students, parents, volunteers, singers, dancers, set
designers... And all of this in a world where corruption, greed, immorality, and
pride run rampant.
I've been a big fan of high school sports and have done some coaching.
It's time for sports to be removed from the schools.
"Overall a little over 7% of high school athletes (about 1 in 14) went on to
play a varsity sport in college and less than 2% of high school athletes (1 in
54) went on to play at NCAA Division I schools." Figure the odds of Billy
or Sally doing anything significant in athletics. It is not worth dragging your
children, coaches, and administrators into the gutter with you as you try to
verbally make your kid into a star.
The problem is that parents get too involved and short-sighted on what is most
important. Allow the kids the opportunity to play and have the high school
experience, not every kid will see the next level. Teams need players to do
their part and fulfill their roles on the team. I've seen parents get so
involved with their kids that they start to sabotage other players, which in
turn hurts the team. Coaches have allowed this type of interference and then
when things go bad it really goes bad.I've also seen coaches that
have a system in place that almost eliminates the parent factor within their
teams. Those seem to be the teams that see the most success. If a team has a
high presence of parent interference and have some success it doesn't last
long term.As a parent all I've ever wanted is to know that my kids
are getting the best coaching and mentoring that they could receive. After that
the success, winning, and accolades are a great by-product.Coaches deserve
our respect and support! If we can show that to them, we have done our job.
Maybe we need more recreational, participatory sports--and less absolute,
intense competition, where 99%+ watch and never play.
I was a head coach for four years. with a lot of blood sweat and tears the
program went from pretty much nothing to a top ten program in VA wrestling. We
had two full teams and 35 wrestlers. The first 3 years were great..no problems
from parents and I almost walked on water in their eyes. Enter the new 9th
graders and their parents with super high expectations about being part of a
great program. These 9th grade kids were entitled, lazy, disrespectful and
their parents weren't any better. Parents started complaining I
wasn't teaching them enough and wanted to "meet". I told them I
only met with parents when I was getting the bus ready at 5am Saturday mornings.
None showed but they even asked the AD if he would get a better coach. We won
our district for the first time in 20 years and after the season I walked away.
It's just not worth putting up with the parent nonsense with everything
else you have to do all year. The team was good for 3 more years with some of
the wrestlers we had developed and then back into the gutter they went and have
been there since. Parents be careful what you wish for.
That the paid position of volleyball coach exists at the high school level is,
in itself, indicative of the problem. We need to step the whole
sports thing back a bunch in high school, and make it about academics again.
You are spot on Amy. You can win a state championship and someone will complain
about how you did it. Usually the complaint is,"my child was not involved
enough in that championship." There are very few "lifers" left
among the high school coaching ranks because of the reasons you outlined. There
are a lot of great, supportive parents but there are way too many who need to
grow up. They are not helping their children learn to deal with life's
disappointments in appropriate ways.
Perhaps we don't need such competitive sports as part of the high school
and junior high programs?
Perhaps every school should have a signed "contract" with each student
athlete and their parents before they can participate wherein they agree that
they will accept all coaching decisions or go through arbitration by a panel of
other parents and school administrators, with the proviso that they pay a fine
and withdraw their student from the program if they lose. My dentist does this
every time I visit him. If the dentist can do it, why not the schools? If
parents understood that there could be a negative outcome for themselves, maybe
they wouldn't be so willing to "go after" the coaches.
The "Battle of the Rock" on Mount Olympus was one region that I noticed
when I was living there a couple of years ago, where the parents have a lot of
power to over rule the Coach's decision.
It's a shame that parents act the way they do and then blame the coaches
for everything their child isn't successful at. I've seen too many
parents force their way into their kids athletics, trying to live through their
kid, and then crash and burn and have a meltdown when things don't go
perfectly. High school sports is so much more than just getting on the
field/court, it should be about learning how to deal with adversity, learning
your role on your team, working as hard as you can for the success of your team.
It's a shame parents ruin athletics for their kids. I was watching a high
school game on Friday and was ashamed of the parents in the stands yelling at
their kids coaches when someone missed a shot. Then they try and coach from the
stands, which just makes them look even worse, especially because 99% don't
have a clue what they're talking about. Parents need to back off and get a
grip. Administrators who give these parents a platform to voice their
displeasure are just making the problems worse.
Ban transfers. Ban kids playing out-or-boundary. Every
year do an anonymous survey at every school: “Donyou know anyone from your
boundaries that is playing at another school?” Locate those kids and
remove their eligibility. Start this in Little League.
My philosophy used to be don't punish the kid for the what the parent does.
I have totally changed to if the kid has problem parents, they are getting cut.
Also, Admin should have clear cut standards for coaches, if there is no
evidence of violation of standards, no worries. Admin need to have backbones
and support the coaches
Great article Amy. Thank you!
"Go to any high school game and sit in the stands. You’ll hear
perfectly good people in any other setting screaming insults and obscenities at
just about everyone participating – officials, coaches and even other
children."I take issue with the opinion that people who act as
described above are "...perfectly good people...". They are not, and
what we see here is what is behind the mask. Cheering for some one or a team is
not the same as degrading a person or team.We are mirrors of our
culture which is at present rather crude and narcissistic.
The solution is easy. We need more classifications.More classes makes for
more championship games which, in turn leads to more trophies and bragging
rights. Everybody is happy.While we are at it, maybe we should
limit playing time for each player to say 1/2 a game. Further, a player can
only play enough minutes for 1 game for every 3 games on the schedule.
Everybody plays (even the most unathletic high schooler of the most generous
parents...wink wink) the same minutes. Equality for all!Yep, that
is a great plan.
I have a daughter playing in high school and last year I saw exactly this. A
well known accomplished and highly respected coach was gone after for holding
kids accountable and not playing kids that complained and disrespected one
another. Parents went in the stands to garner support, held secret meetings,
went to administration to get this coach fired. For those of us that feel our
kids should work hard to earn their spots we’re glad that the coach is
still there. Parents tried to integrate in the program as they had done for
years through money etc. and expected something in return other than a coach
that would work hard for little pay. They attacked his character and him
personally along with his family. Tried to threaten lawsuits and get him fired
on baseless accusations. How and why would coaches want to put up with this?
Administration beware, cut this out. Parents if you feel your kids are that
good bc all the expensive camp coaches tell you so please remember that those
coaches get paid by you coming back. Please realize that just because you may
coach and think you are great or can pay a coach to tell you your kid is great
doesn’t make it so... respect our coaches...
I have only one small exception to the article. It seemed Amy that you inferred
that coaches are having to run off season programs reluctantly but that is not
the way I see it. To the contrary we have all of these offseason
programs because coaches instituted them, they are the reason they exist.
Looking for that edge by trying to make kids on their particular sport all year.
A kid has to be such an outstanding athlete that a coach can’t
not play him for a kid to be able to play a second sport or not participate in a
bunch of offseason stuff.That part is on coaches, not parents. There
was a time not that long ago where we all just played what was in season.
Coaches changed that.
If the coach acts in a more juvenile way than the students they are coaching,
they should be fired or move along. Coaching isn’t for everyone.
Any parent who is rude enough to go on social media and attack a coach should
automatically be forced to spend a week or two with that coach, and experience
first hand all the ups and downs that coaches go through. Practices, working on
strategies, dealing with their player's personal issues like struggling
grades, or an injury. Oh yeah, and also understanding that these coaches
actually have a home life just like the parents do and may not even earn as much
income as the parents. (Sorry, but high school and jr. high coaches
aren't raking in the big bucks like college and pro coaches. It's not
even close) Perhaps by doing this, these parent's who are
trying to live vicariously through their children might have a change of heart
about how they treat their kid's coaches.
Thank you Amy. It’s horrifying but then, what isn’t these days?