Thursday, April 11, 2013

Examples of Horrible Coaches

We've had our share of bad experiences over the years, in numerous sports and different towns. Bad coaches are everywhere. It is sad, really, and being a coach myself, I know how the parents who are often unequipped, or let's face it, LAZY, will judge every move we make with their kids. Nobody is perfect, but I respect the coaches who try. Here are some who just don't make the cut...

1. The screamer. They scream at the kids, call boys "girls" or "sissies", and obviously aren't happy until someone is crying. They believe they are coaching future pro sport athletes and if they don't scream at them, the kids will never reach their potential! Kids quit playing sports when they get tired of getting yelled at. True story. Ask a few kids who gave up a sport...

2. The cheater. Or the Liar. They are usually one and the same, and will not only cheat whenever possible, but will lie to cover it. They will lie to cover just about anything they need to in order to make themselves look good. The rules don't apply to them and they will bend them whenever possible. This teaches kids situational ethics. It only applies when it works in their favor. As parents, these coaches should not be tolerated.

3. The griper. During quarter or half-time breaks, instead of being constructive and moving forward with a plan, this coach complains about all the bad calls made previously, and how the referee must be out to get them. They dwell on the injustices and give nothing positive to the athletes about to take the field or court.

4. The pro. This coach expects everyone coming to him or her to have all necessary skills required for the sport and they are not about to teach any fundamentals to your child. If s/he doesn't have them already, too bad. On the first day of practice, kids are segregated into "starters" and "the rest" and often, not correctly. The "starters" get the "coaching" while "the rest" are turned over to the assistant coach who does "whatever" with them. But it's not skills. Just shoot the ball, it doesn't matter how...

5. The blind. These coaches are usually the ones who play their child (or other relatives) over other, more talented players. As a matter of fact, they usually don't see the talent that other players have because they are more concerned with building the team around "their" child and not taking stock of the many talents of the rest of the team. I literally watched one of the best players sit the bench for half of a game so that the two relatives of one coach could play almost the whole game. The blind coach also doesn't take stock of the strengths of their weaker players. If an athlete can't do "X," they write him off, even though he can do "Y" exceptionally well. This often happens at the team's peril. It does nothing for the child's self esteem.
The blind also fails to see the positive because he is too busy seeing the negative. He is mad at the rest of the team for letting that player get so far down field.  He grimaces at the one who stopped him, instead of recognizing that child's accomplishment. This coach is often a screamer as well.

Well, there you have it. I'm glad I got that off my chest. Now you may be wondering, what DO parents expect? As a coach, my goal is to teach as much as my team can handle. But individual children have different starting points and you have to adjust. It's okay to get frustrated without yelling. And kids want to have fun, but they would also like to win some games. My attitude is this: I don't care if we lose every single game, as long as we get better each time. Coming down on kids because they lost a game does nothing. Building the skills and helping them gain confidence is much more positive for the kids and the team as a whole. I've coached four sports now and some really awesome kids. I can't imagine being a miserable coach who only cares about winning. What do the children really learn?

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