Coaching advice is a very valuable tool to allow you to learn from the experiences of others. I have decided to start adding stories and Pearls of Wisdom that I receive from you on our feedback form. Please feel free to contribute to this page by submitting your advice, experiences, or tips. I hope you will enjoy, and take heart to the wisdom that resides here as much as I do. Please feel free to write about whatever you are compelled to share.
Submitted: 09-20-07 By:Name withheld at the writers request (we always honor your privacy requests)
Perhaps my own son's experience will be an eye opener for others. If you (simplylacrosse.com) care to share this story I would prefer that it be done so anonymously as it is not my intent to embarrass or humiliate anyone. Please feel free to clean up the grammar and spelling:
Many years ago my son played on a dominate soccer team in the U6 (under 6 year old) rec division. The coach ran great practices and the kids learned a lot. My son was one of the smaller players and was not as naturally athletic as some of the other boys. As the team's successes mounted the coach became more focused on winning. The coach made several decisions inconsistent with the concept of youth sports: He played his best players and substituted in less skilled players rarely and begrudgingly. If a player made a mistake he was substituted, this made the player timid. His son played a majority of every game. Worst of all at a tournament he did not play two players at all one game. Again, we're talking about six-year olds. My son was one of the players who was benched an entire game. He was devastated. My wife and I had a sleepless night and discussions with the coach. Things improved only marginally. About this time I decided to coach. I took over the remnants of another team whose coach quit. The first year was pretty rough. One of my goals was to provide equal game opportunities for all players. Both the duds and studs got equal playing time. My father would tell me to play X, Y and Z the whole game and we would be undefeated. I flashed back to the expression my own son's face when he left a game where he was obviously underplayed and simply could not do that. Winning a game is not worth crushing a kid's self esteem. I would inwardly cringe when some of the players were on the field. Players who I initially thought were hopeless kept improving and became solid assets.Last season every player got at least one goal plus it was a winning season. My son transformed from being a dud to a stud. In fact he is playing with so much confidence its hard to get him to pass. (I'm working on that) Many years later my son's former coach came up in conversation and my son still has vivid memories of the day he didn't get to play. While I may regret some decisions of things I've said but I never regretted playing every kid. Postscript, the first team fell apart shortly after we left. The coach fell into a dispute with the rest of the team and quit. Most of his players quit soccer after that season. Coaches, you have an opportunity to do great things with your team. Play to win games but never at the expense of a kid.
Note from: Jamey at SimplyLacrosse.com I can't tell you how much I appreciate this story. As I have experienced it first hand, I am sure many who read will relate as well. Coaches please take note of this Coaching Advice Pearl of Wisdom. Your kids are depending on it.
We thank you so much for your Coaching Advice Pearls of Wisdom contributions. Please feel free to write about any Coaching Advice topic related to all aspects of coaching that you would like to share with other youth and high school coaches and parents. Although this is a lacrosse web site please don't feel limited to just lacrosse experiences as I firmly believe that most examples cross all sports as it relates to coaching advice for youth coaches.