1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Opposite sex coaches and athletes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spikechiquet, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    OK, so I am running into a wall and need some new forks in the road to try....maybe you guys can help.

    I am being directed by my ME to write an in-depth feature on males coaching girls and female coaching boys at the high school varsity level.

    I have sent out basic questions to the coaches that fall into that category in our area and have gotten some response..but it seems coaches don't want to talk about the sticky subject matter (and I don't know how much I want the story to go in that direction anyway).

    I've talked to male swim, basketball and softball coaches that work with high school girls and a female cross country/track coach that works with both boys and girls. Unfortunately, we don't have a female that coaches a male team sport (which is rare anyway). I do have a long-time former boys JV coach that is now a varsity girls coach...so his input will be nice to have.

    Right now I have asked the basics (why or how they got involved, positives/negatives of coaching girls, dealing with parents...), but I seem to be hitting a wall, because none want to tick off anyone, so it's very sing-songy and happy right now (which, I guess..wouldn't be wrong to write, but I am sure there is more I can get)

    Anyone every written a story like this? What is another angle I could try to follow. I have a week to write this still, so I can start from scratch if need be.
  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    First off, try to talk to a few of them in person, just to feel them out. Then explain the situation. If you're "sending questions to them" a lot of coaches might immediately get a little defensive, wondering if you're trying to stir up trouble for them. They're more likely to understand if you are looking them in the eye, explaining that you're posing a question like: Why aren't there more women coaching boys teams? What are the differences between coaching high school girls and high school boys? Are they less than what the used to be? Are more girls teams getting coached the way boys have always been coached (by hardass disciplinarians, male or female) because girls are more comfortable being viewed as jocks compared to maybe 20 years ago?

    Just because it's not negative doesn't mean it can't be analytical. Try to find a coach who has been around a long time who has had a lot of success and isn't afraid to speak his or her mind because they're not going to get in trouble for speaking candidly. Then, ask if you can come to practice and chat for half and hour afterward. It will be a lot easier to get better stuff that way.
  3. WolvEagle

    WolvEagle Active Member

    Several prep swim coaches in our area coach boys and girls. See if you can find some who fall in this category. They'd probably give you some pretty interesting responses about the differences in psychology in dealing with boys and girls.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The Denver Post did a series/story on something like this a few years ago. The most successful girls AAU coach was sleeping with players and the coach killed himself after the story ran. I would check the APSE winners to find it, I think Adam Thompson wrote it.
  5. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    It's a legitimate story, but it's been done before. Do a Lexis/Nexis search (if you have access) to see how other papers have done it.

    That said, if you're getting nothing but "happy news" responses, you can add a hard news element to your story by talking to a psychology and/or gender relationship expert and getting the egghead perspective. You might be able to find such a creature or creatures at your local university or by sending a query through ProfNet.

    Good luck.
  6. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Sorry, you took it as I was only e-mailing...I e-mailed them starter questions to let them know what's up and what I am trying to work toward. I have talked to them, in person for the most part. Still, not getting much.
  7. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Two coaches are like that and the one I have talked to gave me some stuff, nothing earth shattering, of course. I guess I just feel like I am writing a story that's been written a trillion times and I don't want it to be that.

    Thanks, that's a good idea.
  8. finishthehat

    finishthehat Active Member

    Maybe there are too few coaches in the area for them to "hide" effectively, but can't they open up a bit more on a non-attribution basis?
  9. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    How do parents feel (yeah, I know, but it is a legit question)?
  10. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    I think that is a major reason why I am having problems...it's a 3-school area I'm working with for this story. Although, I did just shoot an e-mail to the local college Psychology department, so maybe I can get something there.

    I'm thinking of that as well...but again, is that a puddle of mud I should be jumping into. Probably could get really dirty. I do like the concept of how things were 20/30 years ago...I may see if I can track down a few women that graduated in the 70s/80s.
  11. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    If there's mud, wouldn't that make the story more interesting? Do parents have concerns? Do they have legit reasons for those concerns?
    Don't be afraid to get dirty - if it is legit.
  12. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    It's not always a problem. My wife played in college for a male coach and said she would never want to play for a female. She felt more comfortable with a male coach, and it dates back to her club days.

    Maybe it's singy-songy and happy because there's no explosive sex scandals in your area and it's really not a big deal. That is possible.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page