Worst Parent Stories

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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I'll admit it - as a parent I timed PT one season. 4th grade travel hoops. Coach, who has a football background, had 12 kids on team, but had a starting 5, a second 5, and worked two kids in. Spent ludacris amounts of time teaching the kids plays in practice. First unit (which happened to have his son on it, as well as asst. coach's kid) got most of the PT, and 2nd or 3rd game, there were kids including mine that were seeing 6-8 minutes of PT, some about 3, while the starters were into mid to high 20s, sometime more for a 40 minute running clock. After about 4-5 games of this, many parents were pissed. Having coached in the rec league up to this point, I was familiar with most of the players, and IMO the PT didn't match up to the talent level. Regardless of that, the at this level, PT really should be pretty close to even, and skills should be worked on more than plays. The coach even said in his intro email he didn't emphasize working on shooting - he liked defense and layups. LOL. There actually was a practice where I saw my son and another kid sitting on the mats watching the rest of the team run plays for 20 straight minutes. Just sat there. Could have been working on layups, shooting, FTs, whatever. One practice a week, 90 minutes - just unbelievable. Coach had plenty of parents that would have been happy to help, but he didn't want it. The Asst was a fellow football coach with no hoops experience, while 3-4 of the parents brought some knowledge to the table.

I was somewhat nutty about this, as my kid was not having fun, and I thought he was getting screwed, so I started to time PT during games. Charted it in the stands, didn't make a big scene of it, but didn't hide it. Did it for about games 5-10 into the season. Definitely favored the first team, like low 20s vs. 8-15. I did ask for a meeting with the coach, and we had a nice conversation. I didn't confront the coach with the stats, or share them publicly with other parents. I asked what my son needed to do to get more PT, and he said just needed to work on his defense and continue to play harder. I suspected it was a slough off, and the rest of the season pretty much confirmed it. I thought my son tried hard when he got a chance to play, and played good defense. Anecdotes aside, the fact is the starting 5 never changed the entire season. That means no one improved, worked harder or no one got worse during the season, which basically is impossible. He picked a starting group after 3-4 practices and stuck with it.

I stopped tracking time affter a month in. Things weren't great, but got better. It's hard to find PT for 12 kids, but there are ways to do it if you truly want to do it, and he didn't. As a travel baseball coach often on the other end of this stuff, I also try to give the coach the benefit of the doubt. It was a learning experience for both my son and myself, and while miserable at the time, it was a good low impact intro into these issues. I told him the season ends in March, and then he's done, and I encouraged him to play his best and give his best effort when the opportunities arose until it was over. Next year, the coach was back, and as a result my son chose not to try out for team. About 5-6 kids on the team did the same, although all the "starters" came back. We luckily have a good rec program the next town over with good PT rules (subs every 5 minutes, person on bench must come into play the next 5 minute session), and it has an optional travel team. I coached in that league prior and did again last year, and the boy regained his love of hoops.
Having starters and bench guys AND working on plays in 4th grade basketball is absurd.

One of the WORST things about travel basketball is seeing the attrition due to bad coaching at young ages, especially in a late developing sport like hoops where the best kids in 4th grader are often not among the best by 6th grade, never mind 8th grade or high school.
 

riboflav

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I'll admit it - as a parent I timed PT one season. 4th grade travel hoops. Coach, who has a football background, had 12 kids on team, but had a starting 5, a second 5, and worked two kids in. Spent ludacris amounts of time teaching the kids plays in practice. First unit (which happened to have his son on it, as well as asst. coach's kid) got most of the PT, and 2nd or 3rd game, there were kids including mine that were seeing 6-8 minutes of PT, some about 3, while the starters were into mid to high 20s, sometime more for a 40 minute running clock. After about 4-5 games of this, many parents were pissed. Having coached in the rec league up to this point, I was familiar with most of the players, and IMO the PT didn't match up to the talent level. Regardless of that, the at this level, PT really should be pretty close to even, and skills should be worked on more than plays. The coach even said in his intro email he didn't emphasize working on shooting - he liked defense and layups. LOL. There actually was a practice where I saw my son and another kid sitting on the mats watching the rest of the team run plays for 20 straight minutes. Just sat there. Could have been working on layups, shooting, FTs, whatever. One practice a week, 90 minutes - just unbelievable. Coach had plenty of parents that would have been happy to help, but he didn't want it. The Asst was a fellow football coach with no hoops experience, while 3-4 of the parents brought some knowledge to the table.

I was somewhat nutty about this, as my kid was not having fun, and I thought he was getting screwed, so I started to time PT during games. Charted it in the stands, didn't make a big scene of it, but didn't hide it. Did it for about games 5-10 into the season. Definitely favored the first team, like low 20s vs. 8-15. I did ask for a meeting with the coach, and we had a nice conversation. I didn't confront the coach with the stats, or share them publicly with other parents. I asked what my son needed to do to get more PT, and he said just needed to work on his defense and continue to play harder. I suspected it was a slough off, and the rest of the season pretty much confirmed it. I thought my son tried hard when he got a chance to play, and played good defense. Anecdotes aside, the fact is the starting 5 never changed the entire season. That means no one improved, worked harder or no one got worse during the season, which basically is impossible. He picked a starting group after 3-4 practices and stuck with it.

I stopped tracking time affter a month in. Things weren't great, but got better. It's hard to find PT for 12 kids, but there are ways to do it if you truly want to do it, and he didn't. As a travel baseball coach often on the other end of this stuff, I also try to give the coach the benefit of the doubt. It was a learning experience for both my son and myself, and while miserable at the time, it was a good low impact intro into these issues. I told him the season ends in March, and then he's done, and I encouraged him to play his best and give his best effort when the opportunities arose until it was over. Next year, the coach was back, and as a result my son chose not to try out for team. About 5-6 kids on the team did the same, although all the "starters" came back. We luckily have a good rec program the next town over with good PT rules (subs every 5 minutes, person on bench must come into play the next 5 minute session), and it has an optional travel team. I coached in that league prior and did again last year, and the boy regained his love of hoops.
The most effective thing a hoops parent can do is to email their HS varsity coach and ask him/her what should be emphasized on a youth team and then forward it to the youth coach. If you want your kid to play HS someday, s/he better know how to do the things the HS coach expects. Often, shooting is one of those important skills HS coaches require.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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I tell people I PREFER coaches with little experience coaching basketball. The guys who tell me they have lots of experience are much less likely to listen to advice.
Same here. I've stated publicly (partly as a means to recruit new volunteers into the system) that I'd rather have a parent who never coached or maybe never even played the sport over a coach who played HS and THINKS he knows what he's doing.

Our standard sales pitch: we pay a professional soccer trainer to run your practices. Just show up at practice, sip some coffee, and absorb as much as you can talking to him when the kids scrimmage the final 15 minutes. On game day, find the smartest player on the team and quietly let him guide you, and just worry about getting everyone playing time.
 

Doug Beerabelli

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The most effective thing a hoops parent can do is to email their HS varsity coach and ask him/her what should be emphasized on a youth team and then forward it to the youth coach. If you want your kid to play HS someday, s/he better know how to do the things the HS coach expects. Often, shooting is one of those important skills HS coaches require.
That's a good idea. I'm not sure how good a coach our current one is, but the team shoots a lot of threes. I'm not hell bent on my kid playing HS hoops, and have no idea if he's good enough or wants to do so enough. But he does like to shoot, especially threes.
 

riboflav

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That's a good idea. I'm not sure how good a coach our current one is, but the team shoots a lot of threes. I'm not hell bent on my kid playing HS hoops, and have no idea if he's good enough or wants to do so enough. But he does like to shoot, especially threes.
It's mainly a way of using an "expert" to back up your (very sane) philosophy on how a youth team should be run. Varsity coaches in my area (I'm currently a varsity assistant and head jv coach) are more than happy to do this sort of thing. So, it's not really about getting your kid to master what the varsity coach wants as much as it is to get the youth coach to recognize he's full of it. Any varsity coach worth their salt would write an email that emphasizes the following:

1. FUN
2. Footwork
3. Ball handling (emphasis on how to hold the ball for god sakes)
4. Passing/Receiving
5. Shooting
6. Small sided games
7. NO set plays
8. Equal playing time
9. How to guard the ball (positioning can come later)

Some varsity coaches will disagree over which ones to prioritize of course, but most are going to include several of those listed above. We run a transition and motion offense with only three rules but even the varsity coaches who control every movement from the sideline have their youth teams playing read and react or dribble drive motion.

Most parents (and especially coaches) of travel and AAU teams want their kids to play varsity, so this can be an effective tool to get your coaches on board with more of a development mentality instead of a win/lose mentality.
 

riboflav

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Forgot a very important one - NO POSITIONS. I'm tired of kids who have no idea what to do on the perimeter, including the skills needed to play outside, just because they were 5'7 in 5th grade but are now 5'11 guards in high school.
 

Rick Burlesons Yam Bag

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We wouldn't let a teacher yell at our kids like that when they make a mistake on a test or give a wrong answer in class, why is it acceptable in sports?
I have always said that if 50 percent of the parents who coach the living shit out of their kids in sports put 20% of that passion and effort into helping their kids with their school work, the US would become an economic powerhouse.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Simsbury, CT
The most effective thing a hoops parent can do is to email their HS varsity coach and ask him/her what should be emphasized on a youth team and then forward it to the youth coach. If you want your kid to play HS someday, s/he better know how to do the things the HS coach expects. Often, shooting is one of those important skills HS coaches require.
This depends a LOT on the HS coach. Both our boys and girls HS varsity coaches want us to do away with minimum playing time rules and get the "best" kids playing together as much as possible as young as possible. AND they both want us to work on plays a LOT more than we do. We try to stress teaching principles rather than plays to teach players how to play offense.

To you point, both of them would like the youth coaches to work on shooting form/technique much more than we do but neither of them does much of that type of stuff at all. They mostly want kids to be finished products by high school, or a least not use much of their practice time on individual skills.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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Simsbury, CT
Forgot a very important one - NO POSITIONS. I'm tired of kids who have no idea what to do on the perimeter, including the skills needed to play outside, just because they were 5'7 in 5th grade but are now 5'11 guards in high school.
I can not say enough how important this is. I'm 6'7" and can handle, pass and shoot like a guard because my high school coach didn't put me on a block and always tell me "get the ball to a guard" but encouraged me to handle the ball. So many coaches ruin kids in the effort to win youth games.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Simsbury, CT
It's mainly a way of using an "expert" to back up your (very sane) philosophy on how a youth team should be run. Varsity coaches in my area (I'm currently a varsity assistant and head jv coach) are more than happy to do this sort of thing. So, it's not really about getting your kid to master what the varsity coach wants as much as it is to get the youth coach to recognize he's full of it. Any varsity coach worth their salt would write an email that emphasizes the following:

1. FUN
2. Footwork
3. Ball handling (emphasis on how to hold the ball for god sakes)
4. Passing/Receiving
5. Shooting
6. Small sided games
7. NO set plays
8. Equal playing time
9. How to guard the ball (positioning can come later)

Some varsity coaches will disagree over which ones to prioritize of course, but most are going to include several of those listed above. We run a transition and motion offense with only three rules but even the varsity coaches who control every movement from the sideline have their youth teams playing read and react or dribble drive motion.

Most parents (and especially coaches) of travel and AAU teams want their kids to play varsity, so this can be an effective tool to get your coaches on board with more of a development mentality instead of a win/lose mentality.
The degree to which this helps will depend on your varsity coach.

Our girls varsity coach coaches younger girls AAU teams, the first year he coached our daughter, my wife (former D1 player) asked if she could help out at practices. First practice, only two of the six hoops are down, my wife volunteers to put them down, he says that's ok, we're only going to use 2 (with 12 players at practice). His idea with coaching AAU is to get the girls to learn his offense - the Flex offense! It's especially sad because he's a young, energetic, enthusiastic guy, but he's determined to coach like his father coached him.
 

riboflav

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The degree to which this helps will depend on your varsity coach.

Our girls varsity coach coaches younger girls AAU teams, the first year he coached our daughter, my wife (former D1 player) asked if she could help out at practices. First practice, only two of the six hoops are down, my wife volunteers to put them down, he says that's ok, we're only going to use 2 (with 12 players at practice). His idea with coaching AAU is to get the girls to learn his offense - the Flex offense! It's especially sad because he's a young, energetic, enthusiastic guy, but he's determined to coach like his father coached him.
Yes, I'm sure it does depend on the coach and it may be a regional problem to boot. Do HS coaches in your area need to be teachers or employed in some capacity by the school district?
 

Heinie Wagner

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Nov 14, 2001
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Simsbury, CT
Yes, I'm sure it does depend on the coach and it may be a regional problem to boot. Do HS coaches in your area need to be teachers or employed in some capacity by the school district?
Coaches have to be certified by the state - CIAC. Our town does not require them to work in the schools. Most of them work are teachers, it's tough to be a HS coach and hold down a regular job. But not all of them. Some work in other local school districts.

Boys and girls HS basketball in this area is very weak. Walk the ball up the court, avoid mistakes on offense and defense, coach calls out a play on every possession, usually only 2-3 players on each team are a threat to score. CT really needs a shot clock in HS basketball.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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The most effective thing a hoops parent can do is to email their HS varsity coach and ask him/her what should be emphasized on a youth team and then forward it to the youth coach. If you want your kid to play HS someday, s/he better know how to do the things the HS coach expects. Often, shooting is one of those important skills HS coaches require.
I took that one step further in soccer:

my son's club coach has actively supported dual carding since IIRC summer before fifth grade. So for 7th and 8th grade, I found where our varsity coach was training teams, and got my son dual carded onto those team. 7th was our own club's 8th grade team, so that was free for him to play on; 8th was the club a few towns over, that already had a number of our club players dual carded onto it.
 

riboflav

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We have a player who is a junior this year and will (or was going to) be a rotational player on varsity. She started for me on JV last year and averaged 10 points a game. She is an athletic freak. She can leap out of the building which is really unheard of for a female basketball player at this level. But, she came to basketball late and only got serious about the game two years ago. So she has some very unpolished habits and lacks several basic skills. She is a player who needs development in order to garner minutes on varsity.

We host 2 - 4 workouts per week in the spring, summer, and fall. Thus far, she's been to zero. Is it because she's lazy? Quit? Got better things to do? Nope. She's working with her "skills trainer." Her mom informed me they really wanted her to make big strides this year and possibly get a bball scholly.

O.k. Besides the implied insult, let's think about this. Our varsity coach is a former DI assistant coach whose primary role was to recruit high school players. Our workouts are free. The habits we teach are the habits we expect our players to execute in games. If they do, they receive more playing time. As I mentioned, our player can really get vertical. This combined with her inexperience leads to a lot of missed lay ups - think, airballs and bricks that never touch rim, yes lay ups. So, for her the solution was to make sure she's doing everything on two. Gather and finish off two feet. This is the PGC way and we teach all our players this. It really benefits her and she easily has the best jump stop in the program.

Fast forward to this past weekend. We finally see her. At our fall league. She plays two games and finishes with 1 point combined. Why? She's now going off one foot and is back to bricking and airballing everything. Also, she was constantly out of position and having the ball stolen off her bounce. Because going against chairs and cones doesn't actually simulate having to play real defenders.

Not everyone has competent varsity coaches of course. But, it always amazes me that parents would rather spend thousands of dollars on "skills trainers" who are going to teach different habits and principles from the varsity and then expect their daughter to get big time minutes. There are I would say three, maybe four, skills trainers in the entire mid Atlantic I would trust my son to work with. The ROI on these guys is insanity.

Considering most parents only understand one thing about basketball players - points scored - I'd love to know what her parents were thinking watching her play.
 

riboflav

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The degree to which this helps will depend on your varsity coach.

Our girls varsity coach coaches younger girls AAU teams, the first year he coached our daughter, my wife (former D1 player) asked if she could help out at practices. First practice, only two of the six hoops are down, my wife volunteers to put them down, he says that's ok, we're only going to use 2 (with 12 players at practice). His idea with coaching AAU is to get the girls to learn his offense - the Flex offense! It's especially sad because he's a young, energetic, enthusiastic guy, but he's determined to coach like his father coached him.
It could be regional. Not all our of area's varsity coaches are great of course, but I'd dare say they're all at least competent and much more so than any AAU/travel coach I've seen. I live in a very competitive area where most of the coaches are not employed by the schools. It is like a full time job though. Especially during the season. I spend easily at least 50 hours a week coaching. Some of that is because I have double duty with both JV and varsity but varsity head coaches are right there with me - pulling 40-plus hours a week. Along with this comes a lot of pressure to win. Not as much on the girls side but it's still there. Last year was our first year in this program and we're the third regime in five years. Previous two were fired for not winning.

It's so competitive that one JV coach in my conference is a former captain of a big time DI national championship winning program. He has applied to two varsity head coaching jobs that I know of and did not get them. In fact, it's crazy.
 

robssecondjob

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. She's working with her "skills trainer."
The highest rated (by tryout result) player on the younger soccer team I coach spends mega-bucks with private coaches to work on his shot. At this point he cannot hit the broad side of a barn. The private trainer has him and his parents convinced that he is "striker material". He can't shoot, get muscled off the ball, can't handle contact, and he isn't that fast. The parents are baffled why I keep lining him up as a central mid-fielder. He can handle the ball and pass as well as anybody I have ever coached.

The private lessons have broken him. Good kid, good player, tons of potential. Just because a soccer coach has a British accent doesn't make them good.
 

Rancho Relaxo

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Not everyone has competent varsity coaches of course. But, it always amazes me that parents would rather spend thousands of dollars on "skills trainers" who are going to teach different habits and principles from the varsity and then expect their daughter to get big time minutes. There are I would say three, maybe four, skills trainers in the entire mid Atlantic I would trust my son to work with. The ROI on these guys is insanity.
As a parent, sometimes youth sports triggers this irrational part in my brain where I want to feel like I'm doing everything possible to help my kid succeed. I sometimes have to resist that compulsion -- especially because I'm hardly an expert on the sport (soccer). Where I am an expert, however, is on my kid. I know what motivates her, and I know her personality. Which is why she did work with a trainer for a year or so...

My daughter had a coach who had become disengaged from the team. She had also broken her arm and was struggling to regain confidence and conditioning. We lucked into a trainer who plays for our local women's pro team (we used credit from a canceled skills camp for individual sessions). It was expensive ($50 per session), but we went maybe twice a month for about a year. The difference was huge. The trainer did a really good job breaking things down at a fundamental level, and my daughter is definitely more skilled and confident.

We don't work with the trainer any more. My daughter has an awesome coach now, and well, the trainer has become too busy with her own soccer career anyway. That said, under the right circumstances, I'd sign up for that again in a heartbeat. And I think a few individual training sessions, at least for my kid, produced a lot more value than her attending a bunch of skills camps crammed with hundreds of kids...
 

riboflav

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The highest rated (by tryout result) player on the younger soccer team I coach spends mega-bucks with private coaches to work on his shot. At this point he cannot hit the broad side of a barn. The private trainer has him and his parents convinced that he is "striker material". He can't shoot, get muscled off the ball, can't handle contact, and he isn't that fast. The parents are baffled why I keep lining him up as a central mid-fielder. He can handle the ball and pass as well as anybody I have ever coached.

The private lessons have broken him. Good kid, good player, tons of potential. Just because a soccer coach has a British accent doesn't make them good.
Most trainers I know will tell a kid and his parents anything to get their business. It's disgusting.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Most trainers I know will tell a kid and his parents anything to get their business. It's disgusting.
The first year my son was age-eligible for ODP, the state boys director met with the tryout parents as a group. One topic was what parents should NOT do if a player is cut from the pool, and one of his primary points (after the obligatory Tim Howard/Carli Lloyd anecdotes) is exactly what you said: they didnt want letters or recommendations from club trainers or from personal trainers or from directors of academies. He told the parents to think about this: if the trainer said the player wasnt doing well and wasnt getting better, would you keep paying that trainer to keep training your child? Of course not, you';d take your money elsewhere, so why should ODP ever consider a letter from a trainer to be objective.
 

Heinie Wagner

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It could be regional. Not all our of area's varsity coaches are great of course, but I'd dare say they're all at least competent and much more so than any AAU/travel coach I've seen. I live in a very competitive area where most of the coaches are not employed by the schools. It is like a full time job though. Especially during the season. I spend easily at least 50 hours a week coaching. Some of that is because I have double duty with both JV and varsity but varsity head coaches are right there with me - pulling 40-plus hours a week. Along with this comes a lot of pressure to win. Not as much on the girls side but it's still there. Last year was our first year in this program and we're the third regime in five years. Previous two were fired for not winning.

It's so competitive that one JV coach in my conference is a former captain of a big time DI national championship winning program. He has applied to two varsity head coaching jobs that I know of and did not get them. In fact, it's crazy.
That sounds very different than here. They have a hard time just filling JV/FR positions. The FR girls soccer coach for example is the ex-football coach who admittedly knows nothing about soccer, he's also the distance coach on track (he looks like a lineman). I can't imagine anyone getting fired for not winning. We're LL in CT too, which is the largest division and get a decent amount of athletes from Hartford though the school choice program.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Most trainers I know will tell a kid and his parents anything to get their business. It's disgusting.
After one girl's basketball tryout a few years ago. A mother whose daughter made the B team sent a nasty email to our President (the guy before me) which said that her daughter's personal trainer assured her she'd make the A team. Brutal.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Just because a soccer coach has a British accent doesn't make them good.
LOL - this is so funny. And sad. Our town club has a guy who has been in the US for 20+ years but still has a considerable accent. He's terrible, loses patience with kids in front of big groups, teaches bad technique and says inappropriate things. I swear he has some people snowed because of the accent.
 

BroodsSexton

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LOL - this is so funny. And sad. Our town club has a guy who has been in the US for 20+ years but still has a considerable accent. He's terrible, loses patience with kids in front of big groups, teaches bad technique and says inappropriate things. I swear he has some people snowed because of the accent.
Guarantee he's wearing a full kit on the sidelines, too. Guaranteed.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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After one girl's basketball tryout a few years ago. A mother whose daughter made the B team sent a nasty email to our President (the guy before me) which said that her daughter's personal trainer assured her she'd make the A team. Brutal.
Please tell me that the response was something along the lines of: I hope you saved your receipt, so that you can get at least part of your money back.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Please tell me that the response was something along the lines of: I hope you saved your receipt, so that you can get at least part of your money back.
Fortunately this was before I was handling these types of issues. The club President before me actually did a sit down meeting with her and her husband and talked for about an hour. This was after she sent him a very nasty, disrespectful email. I probably would not have responded to her email. When someone gets to a certain point of nastiness, it's not worth responding. I definitely would not have met with her, I'm not meeting with anyone over tryout results.
 

riboflav

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That sounds very different than here. They have a hard time just filling JV/FR positions. The FR girls soccer coach for example is the ex-football coach who admittedly knows nothing about soccer, he's also the distance coach on track (he looks like a lineman). I can't imagine anyone getting fired for not winning. We're LL in CT too, which is the largest division and get a decent amount of athletes from Hartford though the school choice program.
Heine, Do your FR/JV players make varsity? I know where I went to school in New England very few if any made varsity. Getting put on Freshman was like a death sentence for your bball career.

Around here where players like Natalie Butler play Freshman Bball, we don't struggle to attract coaching talent. Plus, the schools are very flexible with practice times which helps draw in coaches from outside. And, it's also the culture of course. Basketball is king in this area. Well, on the girls side, soccer is king but basketball does o.k.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Heine, Do your FR/JV players make varsity? I know where I went to school in New England very few if any made varsity. Getting put on Freshman was like a death sentence for your bball career.

Around here where players like Natalie Butler play Freshman Bball, we don't struggle to attract coaching talent. Plus, the schools are very flexible with practice times which helps draw in coaches from outside. And, it's also the culture of course. Basketball is king in this area. Well, on the girls side, soccer is king but basketball does o.k.
For boys, every year is different, most FR play freshmen, some years there are no FR on JV or Varsity. Last year, there were 2 FR on JV, one soph on Varsity and he's a Hartford kid. Lots of politics - football/baseball coach's kid is soph, two seniors were entirely political picks.

I talk to the Varsity coach and his main assistant a decent amount, it's hard to figure out why he does the things he does and pays the guys he does because his coaching philosophy is so completely different than mine. More than anything, he wants to be sure of 12-14 wins and couldn't give a crap about developing players. Walk the ball up the court, minimize mistakes, 2 players take most of the shots, big guys never handle the ball, pack line defense, don't take chances, play 6-7 guys, etc.

I'd ideally like to coach like Paul Westhead at Loyola Marymount. Teach my guys how to make good and quick decisions and then maximize the number of decisions/possessions in a game.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Heine, Do your FR/JV players make varsity? I know where I went to school in New England very few if any made varsity. Getting put on Freshman was like a death sentence for your bball career.

Around here where players like Natalie Butler play Freshman Bball, we don't struggle to attract coaching talent. Plus, the schools are very flexible with practice times which helps draw in coaches from outside. And, it's also the culture of course. Basketball is king in this area. Well, on the girls side, soccer is king but basketball does o.k.
For girls, they really shouldn't have a FR team, sad, we're a big school, in CT but they only had 4 girls that exclusively played FR last year. I think 24 girls in the program for 3 teams. Boys coach didn't have anyone swing between 2 teams, girls had a bunch who did that.

At the youth level, soccer is king here, big local travel club, nearby premier teams etc. Travel club encourages play year round at early ages. I wouldn't say any sport is king in HS in this town. From what I see, girls and boys, not a lot of coaching talent in the region. The Catholic schools are probably the highest regarded, but they recruit (cheat) and win with talent much more so than being better teachers of basketball.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Travel club encourages play year round at early ages.
Jesus. People need education.

My sister in law and her husband both played D1 sports, and their two daughters are regionally borderline elite soccer players (and talented gymnasts/swimmers). I've had multiple tough conversations with them about the pressure and advantages/disadvantages of specializing and playing for clubs.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Jesus. People need education.

My sister in law and her husband both played D1 sports, and their two daughters are regionally borderline elite soccer players (and talented gymnasts/swimmers). I've had multiple tough conversations with them about the pressure and advantages/disadvantages of specializing and playing for clubs.
It's disgusting. They guy who ran the 2nd grade soccer program in town last fall told parents that their girls and boys better play in the spring if they want to make travel teams.

With our local travel club (I assume it's this way everywhere) you pay for Fall and Spring together, even if you'd rather not play in spring, you don't have a choice, this starts at U9. Winter is not mandatory, but I've heard coaches pressure then penalize players who don't play winter too. We're lucky our 12 year old son's coach's kid plays basketball too, so he doesn't pressure kids to play in winter. We'll see how our soon to be 9 year old's coach is, his kids play hoops too but he's very much more intense about soccer.

It's like these people have done ZERO research into what's best for kids.
 

robssecondjob

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Our travel program is year-round for Division 1 players. Division 2 only play in the spring The Div 1 / Div 2 split is at U10 for us. Players can opt out of playing the fall to play other sports and still maintain their spot on the Div 1 team. Nothing mandatory for my team in the winter, I have half a dozen travel basketball players including my son.

I had four players, including my son, run from the end of our match today to play baseball.
 

riboflav

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It's disgusting. They guy who ran the 2nd grade soccer program in town last fall told parents that their girls and boys better play in the spring if they want to make travel teams.

With our local travel club (I assume it's this way everywhere) you pay for Fall and Spring together, even if you'd rather not play in spring, you don't have a choice, this starts at U9. Winter is not mandatory, but I've heard coaches pressure then penalize players who don't play winter too. We're lucky our 12 year old son's coach's kid plays basketball too, so he doesn't pressure kids to play in winter. We'll see how our soon to be 9 year old's coach is, his kids play hoops too but he's very much more intense about soccer.

It's like these people have done ZERO research into what's best for kids.
It wouldn't matter if they did. It's herd mentality/keep up with the Joneses. Nothing else matters.
 

riboflav

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Our travel program is year-round for Division 1 players. Division 2 only play in the spring The Div 1 / Div 2 split is at U10 for us. Players can opt out of playing the fall to play other sports and still maintain their spot on the Div 1 team. Nothing mandatory for my team in the winter, I have half a dozen travel basketball players including my son.

I had four players, including my son, run from the end of our match today to play baseball.
See
 

riboflav

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Look, the problem is the parents. They don't want their kids to have to make a choice and deal with any consequences.

I hear all the time, "You don't get it. The coach of so and so ELITE team where my kid is DESTINED to be a professional so and so player is MAKING US play THREE sports this fall! We are LITERALLY between a rock and hard place."
 

Heinie Wagner

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Look, the problem is the parents. They don't want their kids to have to make a choice and deal with any consequences.

I hear all the time, "You don't get it. The coach of so and so ELITE team where my kid is DESTINED to be a professional so and so player is MAKING US play THREE sports this fall! We are LITERALLY between a rock and hard place."
Totally agree. My wife is our basketball club's registrar. Parents approached her at a soccer game yesterday to complain that our tryout nights their son's grade conflicted with his hockey practice. My wife gave the standard "we have limited gym time, we have two nights of tryouts, it is preferred to be at both but it is allowed to miss one if you have a conflict".

I told her she should have said "Hockey? You can't play basketball if you play hockey".
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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Totally agree. My wife is our basketball club's registrar. Parents approached her at a soccer game yesterday to complain that our tryout nights their son's grade conflicted with his hockey practice. My wife gave the standard "we have limited gym time, we have two nights of tryouts, it is preferred to be at both but it is allowed to miss one if you have a conflict".
We get that every year during winter travel tryouts (usually held in the first and/or second week of Nov): "I/my child has a (fall soccer) club practice." Two years ago, I began asking parents for their club coach's name, as I'd be glad to reach out to him and explain the situation. Got some dumbfounded looks when some parents can't name their child's club coach (or they give us the trainer's first name), and they stammer out "His coach says he can't miss practice!" Well, it's November, not sure what they'd be hoping to accomplish with only one game left in the fall season, but if you think attending a C flight club practice is more important than attending an indoor tryout (mid B and low A flights/division), your prioritization has helped to make our decision for us. (we're not monsters: we do excuse players from tryouts due to injury, but we do have them sit on the sideline and watch the tryouts as a show of interest)
 

BroodsSexton

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I was talking with a friend yesterday about how painful it is to listen to the parent coaching for our soccer rec league. It is just a constant stream of screaming at the kids. From the coaches. From the parents. My son and I sat on the sidelines after his game yesterday, and watched the following game, which was just an absolute abomination. And I think my daughter's game yesterday was even worse. I definitely became more sensitive to it as a result of this thread. I've put a moratorium on it for our sidelines. Not going to happen anymore. At. All...

Anyways, this guy gave me a good tip--he said that the practice of his son's travel soccer coach is to pull the kid over to the side of the field when he sees a teaching point on positioning, execution, or whatever (after the action has moved on), have a word with the player, make sure he understands, and then send him back out. That seems like an excellent strategy to me--and one you can generally get away with in soccer that you might not be able to pull off in basketball. I do think players some times can benefit from real-time, in-game coaching. But it definitely has to be done in the right way.
 

riboflav

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Yelling at a kid, especially in basketball because everyone can hear it, is almost the worst thing you can do even if you're being proactive. But, of course the worst kind of yelling is done right after a kid makes a mistake. The only time yelling is warranted at an individual player is if you see that player get down on herself and trapped within her own head. A good and positive message may need to be delivered. Any yelling at all interrupts a player's flow and causes her to lose focus. It can take vital seconds for a player to regain that focus. For some, they may lose focus for the rest of the game. How is this good coaching or good parenting/spectating?

I also never sub out a kid who makes a physical mistake. I always give that player an opportunity to correct it. Now, if a player is killing us because she's turned it over three possessions in a row that's different. But, basketball is a unique sport played in an intimate environment where almost everyone can hear everything said. And, unlike football, fans are more aware of what's gloing on because there's less to keep track of. Coaches, especially, should be mindful of this and the pressure these kids feel. It's like being on stage performing in a play. Instead of being terrified of screwing up your lines, kids are scared of missing shots, forgetting where to be on a press break, and having people yell at them.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Yelling at a kid, especially in basketball because everyone can hear it, is almost the worst thing you can do even if you're being proactive. But, of course the worst kind of yelling is done right after a kid makes a mistake. The only time yelling is warranted at an individual player is if you see that player get down on herself and trapped within her own head. A good and positive message may need to be delivered. Any yelling at all interrupts a player's flow and causes her to lose focus. It can take vital seconds for a player to regain that focus. For some, they may lose focus for the rest of the game. How is this good coaching or good parenting/spectating?

I also never sub out a kid who makes a physical mistake. I always give that player an opportunity to correct it. Now, if a player is killing us because she's turned it over three possessions in a row that's different. But, basketball is a unique sport played in an intimate environment where almost everyone can hear everything said. And, unlike football, fans are more aware of what's gloing on because there's less to keep track of. Coaches, especially, should be mindful of this and the pressure these kids feel. It's like being on stage performing in a play. Instead of being terrified of screwing up your lines, kids are scared of missing shots, forgetting where to be on a press break, and having people yell at them.
So true. Excellent points. You're almost always better off waiting until a kid is sitting/standing next to you to teach something.

That doesn't mean a coach can't yell "see the ball, see your man, helpside..." General stuff like that. True teachable moments when a player is active in a game are exceedingly rare.

I wish more soccer and basketball coaches would read this: Claudio Reyna: 'Coaches should sit down'

During games, Reyna observed that “at the best places the youth coaches are sitting down. And if they get up to give instructions, they sit right back down again.

“When the game is going on, all the coaches should just sit down. I think if you ask any player at the youth level, if the coach is on the sidelines standing, it brings tension. You can sense it.”​
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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During games, Reyna observed that “at the best places the youth coaches are sitting down. And if they get up to give instructions, they sit right back down again.

“When the game is going on, all the coaches should just sit down. I think if you ask any player at the youth level, if the coach is on the sidelines standing, it brings tension. You can sense it.”​
And here I thought I was just being lazy all these years.
 

robssecondjob

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My opposing coach this weekend was a horror show of negative yelling. "Get your head out of your ass" type of stuff. U12 game. Wholly inappropriate and of no value whatsoever. Unfortunately we had a young ref doing his first center so he didn't try and tone the coach down.

I have always stood, but after reading this I will start sitting. I always tell my players that I will never be upset about a physical mistake. Swings and misses happen. Everybody is going to shank a shot or trip themselves up.

And I got to be the "worst ref" earlier in the day. Stupid fields lined for multiple size fields... Called a play dead when the ball was very, very in play.
 
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Heinie Wagner

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The first time I coached AAU, it was 6th grade, my two assistants could not believe I was sitting.

I make sure to mention it to parents and players at every pre-season meeting and explain why, because people certainly are NOT used to it. I get a lot of positive feedback from parents and players about it. The HS AAU team I coached this past season really seemed to like it.

I try to get all the coaches in our club to do it. One other guy did it last season. One stands the whole game, but doesn't "coach" much in the way of verbal directions. It doesn't help that our HS varsity coaches both boys and girls seem to strive to be the center of attention on the sidelines.
 

Cumberland Blues

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The coach of my son's teams this fall has taken to sitting - because he knew he was coaching too much from the sidelines. Some of the parents are baffled by it - "why isn't the coach doing anything?!?" but the kids seem to be learning more as they have to figure stuff out on their own, and the coach gives one-on-one time to kids on the bench when they sub out.
 

Heinie Wagner

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The coach of my son's teams this fall has taken to sitting - because he knew he was coaching too much from the sidelines. Some of the parents are baffled by it - "why isn't the coach doing anything?!?" but the kids seem to be learning more as they have to figure stuff out on their own, and the coach gives one-on-one time to kids on the bench when they sub out.
"why isn't the coach doing anything?!?"

This is the sad state of youth sports in America. As a coach, my goal is to be able to do absolutely nothing in the games because I've helped my players build physical and mental skills and abilities to be able to do things on their own. A lot of parents think most of the coaching occurs in games, the opposite it true, almost all the value a youth coach adds to a team is in practice.

One of my proudest moments as a basketball coach was in 5th grade. We were playing a team that had beaten us twice during the regular season in a post season tournament. They were a 2-3 zone team, but we were killing their zone, so they switched to man to man. Without a word from me, our post player in our 4 out 1 in zone offense filled out to the perimeter, putting us in our 5 out set that we used against man to man. The point guard dribbled at him, he cut to the hoop, bounce pass, layup. I applauded. I love telling that story, but we were lucky that those two players were our two most alert players on the team.
 

robssecondjob

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I had my first parent of the season explain to me, rather vocally, that I shouldn't be reffing high level games as I don't understand all the rules.

The high level match I was centering was a U11 Division 2 soccer match.
 

Omar's Wacky Neighbor

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I had my first parent of the season explain to me, rather vocally, that I shouldn't be reffing high level games as I don't understand all the rules.

The high level match I was centering was a U11 Division 2 soccer match.
Lemme guess: hand ball?

And dasm it, that team was privileged to have her child playing for them.....

EDIT: U11, could have been heading.
 
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robssecondjob

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We have a winner: heading. Which per parent rule should result in a penalty kick and a red card. Infraction happened in the center circle.

Apparently I also don't know the rule that when a mistake is made by a coach during a substitution, in this case one too few players were on the field (which I caught prior to the restart), that the coach is supposed to be ejected.