01.20.2013 07:49 PM

Coach tales (updated)

For those interested – and some of you certainly seem to be – one son’s coach didn’t even show up at their weekend tournament. The boys accordingly won the tournament, and my son got to play and score goals, and I haven’t heard him that happy after a game in a long time.

The other son’s coach? Well, I did what I never, ever do. I wrote a note of complaint. Here’s what it said: “How do you expect [son’s name] to feel confident, and play better, when his coaches show so little confidence in him?”

They kept the other boy in. He let in more goals. And so on and so on.

Once again, my pet theory hasn’t changed: the worst part of kids’ sports is the adults.

9 Comments

  1. kit says:

    As if it would do any good (but who knows) last year in Calgary, parents were complaining to the city hockey league. Haven’t checked with my son but I think there is some difference.

  2. Pipes says:

    I read you man! I’ve been there, over and over again.

    Just try really hard not to become one of them.

  3. Ryan says:

    No, it’s the team tribalism mentality that pushes coaches to win at all cost. Btw, these “coaches” are not truly coaches; they are just neurotic fathers who feel they must force the kids to win. I see this at soccer games as well, where the coach continually yells out instructions to the confused kids during a game.

    I once confronted one of those loudmouth soccer coaches and told him it’s too late to teach the kids what to do during a game; that’s what practices are for. He looked at me glaringly as if he couldn’t be wrong. Neurotics, I tell you!

  4. Bruce A says:

    Here’s something to consider, if one is so inclined:

    Years ago I heard Bobby Clarke say that in his day, Flin Flon had a three minute shift rule. This way all the lines got the same amount of icetime. My father used this with great success. Success defined as no kid feels left out and gets on the powerplay or penalty killing shifts.

    An idea I tried years ago was rotating players into different positions over the course of a season. This makes sense to me as it allows kids to experiment. Some kids get their hearts set on a certain position (which I did until I smartened up in my teens) or coaches close their minds to other options.

    As far as goaltending is concerned, everybody on any team should put the pads on at least once for a practice. I guarantee this makes teammates and coaches alike appreciate how difficult the position is. Try stops and starts with pads for half a practice. It’s hard work. Cherry pickers should especially learn this.

    This is a sport where ad-libbing and versatilely are paramount for success but for kids it’s just plain fun. That was my experience but attitudes and circumstances may well be different in this day and age.

    For the coaches in question it would require introspection, which is apparently missing.

    Finally, some coaches need a whipping boy(s) and I have been on that end. It’s no fun but grin and bear it. It’s a sure way to show a problem coach that you’re not going away. Which may well be want they want. Make his life difficult by sticking it out. This is what happened to me with my one year of Jr. B before the team folded. Coaches didn’t like it but I had the respect of my teammates, which was more important than anything that season.

    Best of luck.

  5. Peter says:

    Time to put in a good word for the poor maligned coaches. Despite the sociopaths among them, we shouldn’t forget they are donating dozens and even hundreds of hours to a charitable endeavour without which there would be no hockey. Can’t say the same about the parents beyond the money and chauffering. Warren’s tale of the happy coachless team may say a lot about that particular coach, but it’s a model for a Disney film, not reality. The typical outcome of that solution would more closely approximate Lord Of the Flies, assuming they were able to suit up by themselves and get onto the ice.

    • Chris says:

      Perhaps the best athletes are those who succeed in spite of their coaches?

      You could argue that less dedicated/mentally strong players are weeded out by coaches, leaving only those most suited to the rigors of the game.

      Or maybe many coaches are just jerks, who knows.

  6. Billybud says:

    When my two sons were growing up I encouraged them to go nowhere the game. Today they thank me and have passed it along to my grand sons.

  7. Bloody Bounder says:

    Well, all I can say is “Up There, Cazaly!” 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxM8XB61ZvU

  8. wsam says:

    As a long time coach of various children’s sports I would say the worst part of being involved in loudmouth parents who think they know what is best for the team but really just want is preferential treatment for their kid.

    Go talk to the guy. And if he isn’t the kind of coach you can talk to try and get your kid on another team.

    If you have the money put him into a private school with a decent sports program. That way you have leverage over the coach because you are paying. St Mike’s is a good school with a great program. UCC. SAC.

    The problem with a lot of kids’ sports in Toronto is there is not enough time to practice. In our houseleague soccer we have mass practices, that’s it. There is no time for team specific practices. Our practices are 5 minutes before game time. That ends up being ‘keep-away’ or simply shooting at the net. Representative is better but there still never seems enough time to really teach skills and proper play.

    Hockey is better with an hour practice a week. But still. That’s not enough time for individual instruction. Just drills and basic skills. (This is novice houseleague).

    The best kids in our program are the ones whose dads have the time and inclination to take them to shinny and actually play with them. (or that take them to the park and play soccer). These are usually, but not always, the same dads (and mums) who end up coaching.

    Coaching is great. But it can also be intensely fustrating. Especially if your kids’ team is losing and some of the kids aren’t really trying, or don’t care. I find the hardest part of coaching is motivating them. Especially in the lower levels where abilities and interest levels are wildly divergent.

    Our club makes anyone who is going to be involved with the kids take an anti-bullying course. It is available through Hockey Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*