Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and the best player you personally knew/ know… all have one thing in common. Each of them has been, or are currently being coached, at some level– from Peewee to a Hall Of Fame Professional career. Michael and Phil, Torre and Jeter, Riley and Magic, Duncan and Pop, Belichick and Brady, Parcells and LT, Pat Summitt and ANY Lady Volunteers former player—the list could go on and on— Coaches make significant impacts on even the biggest superstars.
Let’s take it down a notch. Someone showed MJ the basic mechanics of basketball. Someone took the time to hit grounders and throw BP to Jeter—you get it. Those are the coaches we don’t read about— the ones who do it for little to no pay.
I’m not knocking professional coaches; they are there for a reason. That reason is because they are the very best– their pay is deserved. Ask yourself, how would you coach MJ? Does that paint a picture? I bet your instinct tells you “don’t” coach him, let MJ be MJ. Right? Wrong. There’s a reason they call Phil Jackson “The Zen Master”. Even the best still need to be reeled in once in a while.
Now that we have that out of the way, back to the “other” guys and gals who aren’t named Bill Belichick, Gregg Popovich, or Pat Summitt.
We get it. Your kid is the very BEST and should play every minute, take every shot, and generally be the center of whatever that team’s focus is. However, calm down, take a deep breath, and I’d recommend sitting. Are you sitting? Good. Your kid sucks. And that’s why the Coach starts a Sophomore over him/her. Plus, your child has a terrible attitude and now the coach knows where the player gets the self-entitlement after the classic “meeting with the coach”. Speaking of having a “meeting” with the Coach—due to your self-image issues of “your” kid not playing or being the “star”, that coach now gets home late to a cold dinner after his/her family has already eaten. All for working pennies on the dollar, once you add the “actual hours worked” into the equation.
“Why did the Coach call that play?!“
“I wouldn’t have done that.”
“I can’t believe (insert name of kid not starting), starts over…”,
are just some of the things we hear from those bleacher warriors who have more repulsive “hot takes” than Skip Bayless.
We’ve all heard the “my coach didn’t/doesn’t like me” bit, or the “I didn’t play because of politics”, and this one may be true, but I’ll get to that one later. Anyway, people (including parents) aren’t at practice to assess the individual efforts of players that may help determine a role or a starting position. A perspective of an individual player is totally different from an outsider who may miss the overall attitude a kid displays that could ultimately hurt “team chemistry.”
This is the stuff most people could see if they chose to look, yet is only a portion of what coaches deal with on a day-to-day basis. What people don’t see is the coach staying late with a kid because a parent works two jobs, and can rarely pick the player up on time. What people don’t see is the coach taking a player in the office to be a counselor as well, due to the kid having a troubled home life, or being bullied at school. To some of these players, their coach is the only piece of structure they have. To some of these players, it’s the first time another person has taken the time to show them that they care.
Lastly, school boards, bosses, and angry prominent parents can create politics that make life hell for a coach. We’ve all seen an episode or two of “Friday Night Lights,” right? It’s a valid depiction, and I’m here to tell you, a coach isn’t just a coach, he/she is a father, a mother, a counselor and so much more. So, when faced with a “do this or else” type of situation, they have a family to think of, not just “the team,” while making a decision. This happens, especially at the high school and collegiate levels.
To the parents and players that feel “cheated”— on the off chance your child’s coach is wrong (it happens)— why not take that moment as a learning opportunity to discuss that we cannot control everything in life, and how an individual should deal with similar situations.
Upset you’re not starting? Push yourself beyond measure to the point where you cannot be ignored. Still not starting? Well, 18 years later when “Susan” gets the promotion over you, when you rightfully deserve it– hopefully you can cope because you’ve already learned at a young age on how to be resilient. What sounds more impactful, whining and complaining, or dealing with life accordingly?
From Peewee on up, coaches invest an enormous amount of time into what they do and instill invaluable lessons that players keep with them outside of the sports arena for the rest of their lives. Whether you’re a dad/mom volunteering your time to coach your kids’little league team, or a Hall Of Famer. Thank You for all to you do.