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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2011, 13:53 

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I have a son - now 8 or 3rd grade - who loves playing sports. I've been his head coach in baseball, basketball and soccer for the last 3.5 years. I should say that I'm a bit of a control freak. We live in a small town that plays rec ball. If your child wants to play, he plays equal playing time. New kids are on my sons team year in and year out. I love coaching youth. I LOVE IT. I game plan, practice plan everything and for all sports. I'm specific on what drills to run and explain to the kids why we run them. Before any season, I hold a parents meeting and give hand outs on what to expect this season, what I expect from the kids, what the kids should expect from me, so on so forth. I LOVE COACHING BASKETBALL. It may be because there are 8-10 kids every year and I can work with them one-on-one throughout the season and by the end of the season, I am truly so proud of these kids by not wins-loses but how much they each improve. Last year, you should have seen how they came together as a team and played M2M defense. Weakside help, Defending picks, it was a joy to see. And I live and die by this site ... so thank you! I get so many great ideas and gain perspective on coaching here.

I'll preface this with I played basketball and football through high school and and football in college. I was not the most talented guy out there and had to work for my spot which helps me in coaching because I know how they are feeling when they can't make shots, etc. I apologize that this is not basketball specific but I feel coaching youth is coaching youth - regardless of the sport. The issue I'm having is that my son decided to play tackle football for the first time and started 1 month ago. He's playing with 2nd/3rd/4th graders. Again, I understand that I am a control freak but there are 25 kids out for this team and 3 coaches who do not have kids on the team and I truly feel the coaches are there for the right reasons but I don't agree with what they expect the kids to do without educating them why it's important. 75% of the kids on this team is in their first year. It'd be like me screaming at them "Why aren't you on the weakside block?", when they don't know what a "block" is in basketball. I've asked to help coach but they want me to be the equipment guy. "Go get water, fix this helmet, etc." They don't really like that I'm out there and I'm not sure why? Last practice my son was playing defense and there were two 4th graders that for 15 consecutive plays were punching/kicking him during and after the play ends. I overheard this 4th grader's mom encouraging it. I've asked others what they would do, and they all said, "That happens in games, he should be prepared for it?" I think this is complete crap although it does happen in games. Just because this is "football", that doesn't mean you should toughen someone up by allowing it to happen and I should tell my son take it like a man - he's 8. The coaches never saw it because there are 22 kids on the field. My son ended up getting hurt by a cheap shot after the whistle and I'm extremely upset at the coaches. They've allowed this type of play by not communicating to these kids and parents what's acceptable and what's not. Obviously I'm biased and I realize that. I'm 100% not for pulling my son from the team ... it's not fair to him. But anytime I've brought something up in the past to these coaches, they've disregarded it. When is it time to stop teaching life lessons to your son/daughter and steart protecting them?

Sorry for the long post ... maybe I needed to vent more than question. Any advice would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2011, 15:04 
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Based on what I interpret from your description in text, I know what I would do. Now this is just me, but I would pull my son or daughter from the team. My daughter is a little younger, just 6, but I know at her age I could just tell her that soccer is over and she wouldn't realize that she quit. I also don't think there is much of a life lesson to learn, even though I would not encourage any kid to quite their team too often. In one or two situations, I don't think it matters.

I personally would put my son or daughter in flag football. I know that is much better for their athletic development, it's fun, and they don't get concussions. Scary thing with the repeated blows to the head (even if it's a small blow) some doctors say that it can cause long term damage if there are too many small blows. In other words, all those little hits to the head eventually add up to really big hits.

I really don't see how that is toughening up a kid, especially an 8 year old. That's just crazy. You want your son to turn into a great athlete and have a chance to be good no matter what sport he chooses (football, basketball, baseball, etc)? Put him in martial arts, flag football, soccer, swimming, and gymnastics. He will develop coordination, balance, strength, quickness, and all the stuff coaches kill for when they are in high school. Play all those sports seasonally. Great for athletic development. Did you know Steve Nash didn't play basketball until 13? I think Dirk Novitski was similar. Michael Jordan and Bill Russell stunk when they were sophomores in high school? As long as you have the coordination and athletic base, you can be really good without starting a sport at an early age.

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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2011, 15:08 
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I also wonder if your son is just learning how to play dirty? I would personally be concerned about that with this team. There is something called integrity, sportsmanship, and character that seems more important. I'd much rather develop a team with utmost integrity and character, than a bunch of superstar athletes. It's easy for coaches to forget what is really important.

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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2011, 15:19 
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Now that you have that off your chest :-) and I don't blame you. Have you discussed this with the coaches.. the dirty play? There is NO place in sports for dirty play, especially at this age!

I agree with Jeff... if it was my son I would pull him from that team.... IF the coaches aren't going to teach the kids the right way to play this game (or any other for that matter) they shouldn't be coaching.... and I wouldn't want my son learning this type of behavior.

I've met Jeff and Joe and they are stand up guys.... they know the game and how to teach it not to mention HOW TO TREAT KIDS.... take his advice and find someplace that your son can learn how to play the right way.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2011, 15:41 

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Man ... the differences between coach/parent attitudes in basketball and football are insane. I understand Jeff, I didn't pick football up until 7th grade and I was the only one in my high school class to get a full ride to play. I was wanting him to play flag football these next two years but I couldn't get a team together because they all are playing tackle. I should have stuck to my guns on this.

Jeff - He is picking up the dirty play. By the end of 12th-13th play, I was watching him starting to punch/kick back. There is no way I should have let that go on. I'm kicking myself as a dad.

My son does not want to quit football as I spoke with him last night after practice. He likes it but I can't stand this old school, "if it ain't broke, get back in there" mentality from these coaches. I appreciate your candor. I think I'll give it a few more practices and before the next one, I'll talk to the coaches one-on-one about what happened - in a calm matter. Ask if I could help with the practices besides being equipment mgr. Then just insert myself into the practices. If they balk at the idea or push back ... I'll have to pull him from the team.


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