By: Kennedy W
Featured image by: Pixabay.com
“Going into high school I was a standout athlete with high confidence but after my freshman year I started to lose interest. It just wasn’t fun anymore. I hated practice because I was always worrying about messing up and being embarrassed by the coach. In games I worried about what he would do or say if I made a mistake so I became less aggressive. When I thought I did something right he thought it was wrong, and when I tried to work hard and gain his approval it was never good enough. It got to the point where I was making up excuses to get out of practice, and I even hoped I would be benched so I didn’t have to worry anymore. I knew the coach was tough, and I have no problems doing extra work or having someone push me to do better. But when he gets in my face, calls me out, embarrasses me in front of the team, and has a problem with me every day it makes me question why I still play. I use to play to learn, compete, be with friends, and have fun. Now I can’t wait for the season to be over, and practice is always the worst part of my day. I don’t tell anyone how it affects my motivation and confidence because it’s football, and everyone complains about the coach. You just have to quit or accept it.” According to the article, How Bully Coaches Affect An Athlete’s Mental Game, this quote was said by a 16 year old high school quarter-back who loved football and had the potential to start as a freshman.
Sport: an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.
The things we need in order to participate/compete in a sport are things like: equipment, a facility, a team, and a coach. You obviously can’t play football without your helmet and pads and you most definitely can’t play without a motivating, encouraging, hard working coach. In sports these days we often forget the coach part of the sport it and we find athletes quitting and hating their sport because of their coach. Now I’m not saying that all coaches are bad and mean and they’re the sole reason why athletes quit because they’re not at all. But we are finding it more often that we run into this problem and to solve it we must figure out why.
The First Reason: A Coach Who Picks Favorites
No one likes or wants to be the kid picked last for kickball in elementary school and they really don’t want to be the only varsity athlete who never plays. Today we often find coaches who pick favorites, or the players that they really like, or the best ones and play them/ pick them over anyone else on the team. Imagine working your hardest and coming to every practice and giving your 100% and the coach doesn’t even notice and still picks someone else over you. The person he/she picked over you could’ve missed practice all last week and messes around at practice but they still pick that person over you. How would you feel then? I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I would feel like all my hard work got put to waste. That I committed all that time and effort and it didn’t pay off. I would feel disappointed in myself, like maybe I didn’t try hard enough or maybe I could’ve stayed after practice just a couple more days and maybe then I would’ve gotten to play. You’re coach shouldn’t have the ability to choose who he/she likes the most or the least. It shouldn’t go off of ability or who the nicest on the team is. But it should be equal. Everyone get’s time everyone’s happy. Maybe you’d run into the problem of not winning if you had to play the worst person on the time the same amount as the best person. Which brings me to my next reason . . . WINNING.
Second Reason: Winning
We often see a difference in coaches these days. Coaches who want to win and coaches who strive to make their players better people and better athletes. Coaches who are so focused on producing the best team to win every single game and to be the best team are looking past a lot of opportunities. Opportunities such as: teaching the team to be humble, it’s not always about winning, sportsmanship and more. Even worse are the coaches who aren’t displaying these qualities themselves. Coaches who are negative all the time and have nothing nice to say about anyone. Coaches who aren’t encouraging and don’t motivate people to encourage others. Coaches who do what they do in order to win are the reason that athletes quit.
What are the coaches going to get out of winning a state championship if they’re whole team hates them. Does the coach want an interview or a spot in the local paper? Because what has that coach who coached a state championship team done besides show the team their plays and tell them where to go? Telling someone what to do, where to go and when to do it is not coaching. If you’re coaching to win, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. If you get just as mad as the athletes do when you lose, you’re in it for the wrong reason. Sports are not about winning at all and I think not only do the coaches need to realize that but also a lot of athletes do.
Third reason: Coaching The Olympics
From when I started my first dance class when I was 2 to now when I’m on the soccer and track team, I want to have fun. I’m not in these sports to win and to break my records or to be the fastest or to get myself ready to run in college. I’m doing it strictly to stay in shape and have fun. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. Athletes need to stop being so caught up in winning and being the best and just stop and enjoy it. Approximately 7% of high school athletes go on to compete in college sports and only 2% go on to play in the NCAA according to the NCAA Research. If athletes aren’t planning on making a career out of their sport then what is the point of getting stressed about a game that you lost? Same with coaches. I think it would be more important to coach a team that will take away valuable life lessons rather than just winning every single game. What will the athletes remember more, a 8 game winning streak or how to stay humble and be a good sport? The coaches need to realize that if they aren’t coaching an olympic team or even a state championship team then they need to take it down a level and focus on more important things. It’s one thing to be hard on athletes to a point where you’re making them better but if you’re making them feel bad about themselves then you should not be a coach. Therefore I come to my fourth and final point . . . ANGER MANAGEMENT.
Fourth Reason: Anger Management
I don’t think I know a single person who likes to be yelled at. No person wants to be told that they’re bad at something they love and I don’t think anyone should be told that in the first place. But unfortunately many athletes are. Many athletes are yelled at, told they aren’t good enough and ashamed because of certain words a coach might say or maybe even because they didn’t make a team. I guarantee you that no athlete will become better by being yelled at constantly. What’s the difference between saying, “Kennedy make sure you get back and help defend” and screaming, “KENNEDY GET BACK THERE AND DEFEND”. As an athlete I would respond to my coach who says it rather than one who screams at me. There’s also a difference between being loud so the athlete can hear you across the field and yelling at them.
Coaches need to know these differences and so do the athletes so neither one can be misunderstood. My brother quit baseball when we was younger due to a coach who yelled at him and sat him every time he would make a mistake. My sister had the chance to be on a varsity team and she declined because of the fact that the coach had a history of yelling at his team and making mean comments. No athlete should quit what they love and no athlete should be put down because they might not be the best. Not only athletes but any person part of a team should be just that. Everyone should contribute and no one person should get more perks or more playing time because they are better.
There are a lot of things that I wish we could change about sports and clubs and extracurricular activities but unfortunately there’s not so much we can do. Unless we stick it to our coaches and tell them straight up that they are being rude, negative, mean, or anything else. But ultimately if you love to do something we shouldn’t let one person decide if we continue to do that or not. If you love something I think you should not listen to anyone else, not follow anyone else, and most importantly not care what anyone says or thinks. If you love archery and your coach says you’re awful, keep doing it, because I promise you that you will be happier that you did.