How many times have we said this? How many times have we thought to ourselves, “If only I could go back, I’d really have even more fun as a kid!”? How often have we also heard stories of youth sports league coaches and parents coming to blows over a kids game? Who are the ones who don’t know how to have fun in those games? I think kids really do know a lot more about having fun than adults. We may think we do, but we really don’t. Currently I’m a youth league basketball coach for 10 year olds. I work with two other coaches. Our team is actually quite good. After last weeks game I was contacted by a couple parents who reported that their kids weren’t enjoying basketball because the focus was too much on winning. I realize the game is for the kids, so I e-mailed the other two coaches. Here are transcripts of our e-mail exchange: (the names have been changed to protect the innocent)
“Hi Coach X and Coach Y,
I had to let you know that I was spoken to separately by parents of two of the kids on our team, and one parent indicated another parent felt as they did also. Essentially they both said that their sons had thoughts of quitting because the practices and games aren’t fun and there is too much emphasis put on winning. I think we should lighten up a bit regardless of the outcome, and try to make the last 3 games fun for everyone. If kids are thinking of quitting the team it reflects on us, not them. Any thoughts?
Here were their responses:
Coach X said:
“First- I’d hate to see any kid wanting to quit.
I’d have to consider the source. (Which by the way I feel we’ve all got the right to know who feels this way.) If it’s a parent of a child that consistently doesn’t hustle and they don’t like that we push them to play the game the right way- I say Bye Bye. We aren’t doing that child or our team justice if we “lighten up” to appease a loafer. For that matter, I’d like to see what the other parents feel before we change anything. My guess is that they are fine with it.
Bottom line is your never going to please everyone.
If you guys want to lighten up I will absolutely go along with it as I am a team player.
That’s my immediate off the cuff reaction- I will however, sleep on it…
Here’s what Coach Y had to say:
“I’m not happy.”
I think these “Coaches” need to realize that it doesn’t matter if we’re happy, it matters if the kids are. I have a feeling I may have a fight on my hands all week. Sorry this wasn’t very funny, but these a-holes are pissing me off. Last night neither of them was at practice, so I ran the practice by myself and last night I got an e-mail from a parent saying “Thanks for a great practice tonight! It was the most fun he has had this year.” I totally rock.