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.
YES! You rock! If the kids have fun, and learn the game, what more can any parent or child ask for? Maybe I should say the parents that are there “for” their kids, not living “through” their kids….keep it up coach!
Fight the good fight Phil…you are right about this one for sure. You more than ROCK! I think this qualifies you for an “Everyday Oscar”. You would probably even win two, one in the parent category and one in the coaching category…then you’ll have book ends for prominent display on your mantle.
Phil to the rescue. I agree..it’s about the kids not the coaches. Sure, everyone wants their kids to be part of a winning team. That’s a given, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of their happiness.>>Kick some ass Phil.
I played sports as a kid. I played baseball, football, and was a cheerleader at one point. Isn’t there a way to make it fun and make it about winning too? I think some of the coaches and parents today are too focused on little johnny gettin to the pros. Or thinking that little johnny is having fun when all he wants to do is play with his friends in the first place. Tawnya
i have seen parents escorted from the stands at little league baseball stands. my sons played baseball for about 9 years total and it was always the same parents, it was a continuing rivalry through the years. some parents even accused the coaches of stacking the teams…for goodness sake it was little league.
Doni- Sadly, a lot of coaches/parents do try to stack the teams. The hold a draft for Little League just like the pros do.
…If the kids have fun, and try their best, who cares if they win. Obviously losing all the time an be a little discouraging, and its hard to instill the value alone of the fun of the sport, vs. competition. Its definitely about the kids.
Well done. You need to be a virtual chil psychologist to measure where the kids are, what they need, and how they will both have fun AND learn the lessons of the game. Sounds like you’re doing it well.>>— david
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hmmm…not too sure about this. I think it depends on the type of league. If it’s just a friendly type of league where it’s a leisure thing, then by all means.>>However, if it is a league were they are in competition with others, I think the kids don’t need to be coddled.>>If you are trying to teach the kids how the world works, and prepare them for it, then lightening up might be detrimental.>>I cannot tell you how many students I have that could have used a little more challenge and a little less coddling. Cause when they get to my class they expect to be catered to and to be able tohave the rules changed just for their benefit.>>I am all for having fun. Don’t get me wrong. But there is a place and time for everything.>>Maybe there need to be two leagues… the one where competition matter and the one where they are just having a good time. Although I am a believer that fun and hard work are not mutually exclusive.>>There…just my toughts.>>-N
I agree with Kim. Everyday Oscar for you.