Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good Coaches, MEAN coaches


I ran into one of my daughter's old basketball coaches a couple days ago. He coached her for 5 years in one of the leagues she played for. This was the last year that basketball was available to the girls and asked why she wasn't playing. I told him she just didn't enjoy it enough. She liked it, but didn't have the passion.


We really liked this coach. He was one of the good ones. He'd fool you by his looks, though. He's a big guy, a police officer, a high school football coach, doesn't smile very much, and has a mean look about him. He NEVER yelled at the girls. He went out of his way to find places to practice. He even has offered to take my daughter to the practices if we couldn't take her. I took him up on that a few times. His daughter played on the team and he told me that you just can't treat the girls like the boys on his football team. The only time I really saw him upset was when the coach or players from another team were being mean. Anyone should feel lucky to have a coach like this.


One team my daughter played basketball for had a mean coach. Mean was even an understatement. He screamed at the girls during the game. He would sub a girl out during the game, scream in her face about whatever she was doing wrong, then send them back out to play. One girl in particular was yelled at so much, that she use to go back out on the court and couldn't even think straight. When the games were over, his shirt would be drenched with sweat, and he wasn't even playing! Every parent didn't care for him. I tried to reassure my daughter that when he yelled at her, everyone felt bad for her. I also told her to use this as a learning experience. There are people like this in the world, unfortunately, and you just have to do the best to live through it. Don't take it personally.


My husband coaches the younger kids in baseball. He treated each kid with respect. He wanted the kids to have fun, and learn, too. He's had experiences with mean coaches. At the first Tball game, my husband asked the other coach if they wanted to pitch to the kids because his team was ready for it. They agreed, but the coach came up to him at the end of the game and said, in front of everyone, that he "strong-armed" him into pitching, and that he thought they were playing Tball (!). My husbands mouth fell open. He really tries hard to get along with everyone and was shocked at how this coach was talking to him. We even called the Tball commissioner after the game to see if pitching was OK. He reassured us that we were doing it perfectly right. You can practice hitting off the tees during the practices, and work your way into pitching to them.


Now, one more story, my son, luckily has had only great coaches. During basketball sign ups we knew of one coach who many people have said that's the ONLY team they DON'T want their son to be on. "Really?", I said. I knew this guy a little. He's very involved in boys sports. I've talked to him about how he thinks kids should be able to play more than one sport in high school if they want, and I agreed with him. Come to think of it, he DID tell me that the girls basketball teams aren't serious at all, only the boys are. And you're saying this to someone who is signing up both a girl and a boy? Well I saw him in action a couple weeks ago. My son's team played his team. My son had to guard his son. I noticed him pushing my son throughout the whole game. After the game my son said, "Did you hear him swearing at me?". "No, I didn't. Did his dad hear him?" "He had to have! Everyone heard him!" Weird, huh. I guess he's just the kind of dad who wants his son to be a big tough bully. Oh, and after the game, that boy came up to my son and told him to meet him out in the parking lot (as if to fight him). My son just told him, "Yah, OK."


So when I ran into this old basketball coach, he said he saw my son at one of the dances and asked if he plays football. My son is a big kid. He's even starting to lift weights. I told him no, but he wants to. He told me he's going to be the new football coach for the 7th and 8th grade team and he'll call us. I told him he's not much of a runner since he had a super bad case of pneumonia when he was 5. He told me that he could find a place for him. I thought that was pretty nice.


So why do some coaches feel the need to be so mean? Maybe they're not trying to be mean. Maybe that's just the way they are. They can't control their tempers. Feel lucky if your kids have one of those nice coaches.

22 comments:

Deb in OPKS said...

I never cared for sports and don't have any desire to drag my kids to sporting events and practices. Part of that is because of what I saw growing up with coaches. I don't understand why they have to yell, but I often hear some people supporting these actions. I'm not saying I won't let my kids play and I have seen good coaches, it's just always been an issue with me. I guess I just don't have the mentality for it.

Amy said...

I can't answer why, but I can so relate when it happens...Rob has coached soccer ever since the boys could play (he played his whole life so he knows the sport well)..there have been many times when he has "coached" (made feel better) a kid on an opposing team because the other coach and sometimes even the parents just get way out of hand...Now he refs so he gets to call the "mean" coaches out...

Kitty said...

My son has a man/woman team of football coaches - they're great - always encouraging, making the boys laugh and wanting them to have fun above everything else. x

girlymom said...

I hope it all turns out ok. I have had both the mean and nice coaches, the quiet and loud parent, been the athlete and the referee and I don't understand why people have to be mean. I understand being competitive and goal driven, but there is a point where it has to be remembered...it is for the kids and it is for the fun of the sport. It's sad when that is forgotten.

Amy said...

I ran into my high school softball coach last summer. He was a great coach; fair, competitive and worked us hard.
He is also the Varsity Football coach and has a terrible reputation for yelling and throwing his clipboard.

When I talked to him this last summer he told me that he is under serious pressure to win. If they lose a football game on Friday, he starts looking for a new job and house on Saturday.
He is finally fed up with it and is retiring.

Lizzy in the Burbs said...

Hi, Maria~

I can definitely relate to what you are talking about! We've dealt with both kinds, the nice ones and the meanies over the years. I've come to the conclusion that some of the "mean" ones have unresolved issues with their own sports careers. Maybe their chances were cut short due to an injury or something, and they sort of live through their kids, it's rather sad. When I hear one of those screamers I want to say, "Hey! Why don't we put YOU in the game and see how you can do?" It's a shame that for some kids, a bad experience with a mean coach can forever change the way they look at the game or may even cause them to quit altogether.
Whenever we get a great coach I'm so thankful and let them know they are doing a good job.

Lizzy

Summer said...

I wish mean coaches would disappear. I had an excellent High School Basketball coach. He was patient, positive and assuring. He never yelled at us and always believed in us. He mannerisms naturally gave us confidence.

Amy said...

this is such a good topic!!! john has never had a mean coach, fortunately but some of his coaches have been better than others.

i kind of think that someone's coaching skills is similar to their parenting skills (though not every good/bad coach is a parent)
then again maybe it's reflects their personality and not everyone has a good personality!

though winning is good, it shouldn't be the only focus. if a coach can't see the other important things, well they just shouldn't be coaching.

kimmy said...

I'm not sure that you "drink" 99 Bananas as much as you just choke it down. It is nasty stuff...it smells good, but that is about it!

Kimmy

denise said...

I'll take care of the "mean" coach and his kid!!!

Kellan said...

Oh, I know this subject well. My sweet twins play HS basketball and have had the meanest lady coach of the past two years - I finally had had enough of it and my husband and I called a conference with her and the head coach a few weeks ago - it went well and we should have done that a long time ago! It is not necessary or acceptable. I won't let it happen to my girls ever again! Great post - see you soon. Kellan

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Y'know, I think I would STILL like to punch one of my softball coaches from high school. Mean would be an understatement. And would you believe that was the only year we didn't make the playoffs? Yeah, mean doesn't motivate.

Dawn said...

My kids haven't haven't had any coaches yet but I sure remember a few mean ones from my own days playing sports. I think you handled the situation with the mean basketball coach well.

OHmommy said...

We are JUST starting to get into sports. I too have noticed nice coaches and not so nice. Boy, do we have a looonnnggg road ahead of us.

Becky said...

We've always been blessed with good coaches.

However, during my son's first year of soccer, there was a dad who stood on the sidelines and belittled his tiny little son until I wanted to choke the man. Tearing his son to shreds, publically humiliating him...why? Because he was living vicariously through his kid, and was driving him to do well for his OWN self-esteem's sake. For bragging rights. It was horrible.

Coaches that do it as a postitive experience for the kids are usually great coaches. The hard driving, mean coaches are usually in it for their OWN glory and self-esteem.

Bia said...

I have the most profound respect for coaches...especially those that volunteer their time. It's sad, though, when coaches start making the game all about winning...and not about sportsmanship, or learning, or even fun.

My husband is coaching the middle school golf team this year, and I never realized how much work/stress was involved!

God bless.

Leah said...

It's sad how over the top coaches AND parents can get at kids' sporting events. A family I used to do some babysitting for had a really competitive MOM and she'd be running up and down the sidelines of the soccer field screaming out directions to her daughter (she wasn't even the coach!). WOW

I'm sorry your daughter had an in-your-face screaming style coach. That's AWFUL! Good for you for encouraging her to shrug it off and stick with a sport she was enjoying, but I think my inclination would have been to have a little chat FACE TO FACE with the coach about his treatment of my child. GRRRRRR That makes me angry just thinking about it!

Your kids sound super active, that's awesome!

Zoe said...

we have run into some horrible coaches with my oldest but so far have been luicky with the youngest. i think a really goos coach makes all the difference in the world.

Jen said...

My DH used to coach boys varsity basketball and he was a great coach. He never yelled, sweared at, or demeaned those kids in any way. He coached them to become better basketball players and better men. To this day, those kids he coached still call him--for letters of recommendation, sure--but also for life advice, to share good news, for someone to commisserate with the bad news. When he visits the towns where they live or are going to college, they go out for dinner. He gets text messages at least once a day from "his boys." Can you tell I'm proud of my coach?

The coach that replaced him is horrible. He yells, he swears. He owns a car dealership and tells the boys that if they buy a car from anyone else it will hurt their playing time. We get calls from parents at least once a week asking us to move back so DH can coach again, and parents venting about how their sons have been treated. I do not know why people get off on a power trip over 17 year old boys. It makes no sense.

Don Mills Diva said...

I had a mean coach in high school and I've never forgotten her - I was somewhat athletic but I remember how cruel she was to the awkward kids and now that I'm an adult it makes my blood boil...

Shellie said...

Ugh! Sports would be so much better with more good coaches!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this. I'm 29 and I've always carried a slight sense of sadness over quitting volleyball in high school, because of a bad experience with a coach who was mean to me. I finished out my sophomore year of playing volleyball after purposely pulling B squad instead of A squad, because the B sqaud coach was nicer, but then I quit the following year, because the varsity coach was mean, she yelled alot at her players, and I wasn’t going to put up with that. I do wish I had the opportunity to have a nice coach all four years. If I had, I probably would have ended up getting a volleyball scholarship for college had I not quit playing. It's nice to know that others feel the same way about needing a positive and friendly coach instead of a mean one. I’ve always viewed this as a weakness on my part. Then again, I was only 15 and didn't know how to stand up for myself as well as I do now.