Our youngest is into football and I’m having a blast with the pee-wee footballers. They are still so enthusiastic about life. EVERYTHING is a big deal. They still share – these kids are 2nd and 3rd graders – everything with such a passion. Where does that passion go? One our players – I just adore him – his enthusiasm about everything is precious and NOT annoying. I call him Kamakazi Sam……..he’ll do anything they ask him to. And for the most, he tries his hardest. It doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty cute.
You can see from his face that whatever he’s telling Coach is VERY exciting to him. That’s so cool. Youth sports can be so influential in these little kids’ lives and this coach is taking the time to listen. I wish everyone felt that way, because there are just some people out there that should NOT be coaching young children. No one is perfect and coaches, good and bad, hurt kids’ feelings all the time. Last week, while I was watching a kids’ pitch baseball game, I could hear some pee wee football coaches that were absolutely out of control. I felt so bad for the players, mainly because the players could not possibly be mature enough to handle what was being dealt their way. Why do some coaches have to scream, cuss, and verbally berate athletes? Who learns this way? Seriously, does anyone? I’ve participated in sports with a few different types of players. There are the ones that get fired up from all the yelling because they are self-motivated, and want to please. Some players get so mad that they foul out, get ugly on the field or court or take it out on someone during play. Then you have the players that just shut down because they think you hate them because you are yelling at them. There is such a fine line……….seems these days, some coaches don’t recognize that ALL KIDS are different.
I’m okay with instilling the fear of God, Coach, Mom and/or Dad into kids. Matter of fact, I think it’s good for kids to be a bit scared of their parents and coaches. Discipline is really okay. A little bit of fear of getting in trouble with a parent or coach can’t possible hurt THAT much, can it? But in this day and age where parents are trying to be best-friends with their kids, who disciplines them? My best friend listens, but she sure doesn’t discipline me – and if she tried……………..whoa Nelly! And the coaches that try to be their players best friends…….that doesn’t help either. As a mom of a daughter, frankly that scares me. There’s time AFTER graduation to be friends with coaches on a social level.
Where are we missing it as parents and coaches? In my mind the electronic age DEFINITELY has something to do with it. These kids can’t communicate – they are growing up staring at tiny little screens on their phones and are “plugged in” to their mp3 players all the time so they can’t possibly hear someone trying to communicate with them. My kids plug in just like everyone else’s kids do. We have house rules and we don’t allow devices at the dinner table or in the car……no wait. I’m fine with not communicating at 5:00am in the morning on the way to swim practice – HA! Dinner table and the car………..is that enough? Probably not.
I think all teachers and coaches that work with kids under the age of 16 or so, should have to go to some type of training prior to stepping into the practice or competition arena – psychological classes on kids. After the training, those coaches that don’t have kids of their own, should have to spend at least a week with a family where mom and dad go out of town. Seriously, understanding the dynamics of kids, whether it is social or competitive behaviors (or lack there of), is so integral to being a great coach in my opinion. Look at some of the greats – a few of them were obnoxious yellers and tantrum throwers. But when you talk to their players, almost everyone of them will tell you that they knew those coaches loved them and truly cared about them. The ones that help you finish college. The ones that come visit when you have your first child. The ones that keep up with you as you continue to grow outside of their world. But what do you think the players of these yelling monsters in pee wee sports would say if you could GUARANTEE them anonymity? For most, I don’t think it would be positive.
I can’t imagine not liking kids and trying to coach. I’ve talked to so many coaches that really just don’t like kids – I think they are CRAZY to continue coaching. I would have to call myself a liar if I sat here and told you that I like ALL KIDS and ALL AGES. Of course, I have my favorites, but that’s life. I think you become a better coach when you figure out how to treat ALL your kids the same, whether they are fast/slow or talented/not-talented. You could be making a HUGE difference in that child’s life. I just wish more coaches believed that way……..because you know………my way is the best!! HA!
Have a good one!