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Prep Coaching Situation: "Tough" Coaching or Verbal Abuse?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by exmediahack, May 30, 2019.

  1. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Bizarre but disheartening situation for me.

    My high school-aged son is about to play the biggest soccer game of his life in 24 hours. Goalkeeper. Needs to be close to perfect this weekend for his high school team to advance and win it all. He's had a great season (all conference, on the radar for colleges) but has given up one goal in the last two playoff games that was a bad goal.

    Now his coach is yelling at him for the goal constantly (in a road game they won at a higher seed) calling him "Butterfingers" throughout practices, in front of the other teammates, all while yelling that his teammates are losing confidence in him before the next game.

    This coach has also gone after five or six other players all week in practice, berating play and bordering on the edge of the personal.

    He came home from practice yesterday and said, "I don't even care if we win or lose. I just want the season to end." This is a first -- he's always displayed a can-do attitude in sports and performing.

    Now, apparently, there's a "players only" meeting the captains are calling next week (after state) to discuss what to do. Every high-level player returns for next year. They'll be loaded for another run.

    The principles of the team (including both captains and all 6 returning players who are getting recruited) are considering going to the AD and demanding the head coach's removal or they will not return for their senior year and that they'll play club instead.

    I've counseled our son to stay away from any mutiny this but, after the last two days, I'm now in the camp of he should do whatever he feels is best. The coach has lost me from this episode and the weeks of on-again/off-again sharp comments.

    Thank you for reading. What would YOU do? As a player... or a parent?
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    Liut likes this.
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    As a player I would have quit. As a parent I would tell him to do whatever he thought was best.

    That guy shouldn't be coaching.
    OscarMadison, exmediahack and Liut like this.
  3. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Have captains gone to coach and said hey we think this is wearing on guys maybe tone it down? Thatd be my recommended first step before mutiny with AD.
  4. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Thanks -- it sounds like this is an option as well and, yes, I do hope it is the first step.
    OscarMadison, JimmyHoward33 and Liut like this.
  5. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    This. If the coach it's receptive then it's a better move than going to the AD. If he's not, I suggest you get other parents to speak up. Admin tends to brush off kids but will listen to parents.
    Liut likes this.
  6. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Thank you -- I really don't want to be "that" group of parents. However, the leaders on this team all have stellar reps for hard work and being good young men. Having been around them the last three years, I trust their judgment quite a bit.
  7. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Administrators, including athletic directors, are far more likely to listen to parents. That said, I would also want to know that the team captains spoke with the coach before taking that step.
  8. Sort of similar situation for me and my son this spring in high school baseball. He was by far the best hitter by average on the team. Little power, but he seemed to always get on base. Batted .600 and OBP of about .800 on a winless team. Next best guy was about .200 BA. Toward the end of the season, my son did something (I think he missed a steal sign) and wound up deep in the coach’s doghouse. Coach got on him continuously, yelled at him in front of the dugout a few times. Took the joy of playing away. My son started to press, told me he was tired of the BS. I quietly and out of the way spoke very respectfully with the coach, and luckily the BS stopped. The key, i think, was not going after the coach with an axe to grind. Being nice almost always is the better tact.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  9. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    In my experience, "going over someone's head" rarely works as the first option because the sequence of order is there for a reason, the AD supervises the coach and his/her initial reaction will be to protect the coach.

    However, the captains first, then perhaps their parents, confronting the coach for the basic issue, back off, let's have more positive reinforcement rather than heated negativism then going to the AD is a good approach.

    More than anything this is what I would advise, as painful as it is, be specific about what is wrong and offer specific solutions/alternatives. I've seen way too many issues get sidetracked because its emotional without specifics. Giving specifics forces the other side to address them. Good luck.

    I would tell your son quitting sounds great at the start but your son (and others) really need to think about what it would be like to be on the outside looking in for a whole year. Plus, think about how a potential college coach will view that decision.
    OscarMadison and exmediahack like this.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Is this a trend? Sounds like a very good team with a lot of good players. Has he always been an ass toward those he thinks aren't performing? I mean, your son is clearly good. A good coach would have said, "Shit happens, we all do something we want back here and there. Learn from it, figure out if you can why it happened and try not to let it happen again. You've been too good for too long to let this get you down." A bad coach would berate well beyond the game. Pick 'em up after they fuck up is the goal.

    In short, I can't believe he suddenly turned into an asshole. Someone needs to talk to him indeed. His reaction will tell you what you need to do next.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  11. canucklehead

    canucklehead Member

    I've had the same problem with my daughter's female soccer coach who is the girlfriend of the technical director. She has coached her for three years and I've heard nothing but criticism and negativity. My daughter would get in the car and ask me why her coaches hates her so much.
    I've had it out with the technical director and told him his girlfriend better change her ways or he was going to lose my daughter to another program.
    My daughter is one of the better players but the bigger issue is they don't have a lot of number to draw from and the now U13 program is hanging on by a thread.
    Some people are just not good coaches and no amount of coaching seminars can change that.
    My daughter's soccer association lost all the girls in the age about my daughter two years ago (a year after they won a provincial title) because they all got tired of being called lazy and criticized and moved to other programs. I asked the TD where they all went and he turned beet read and didn't answer.
    I would have already moved my daughter but she was hesitant to move away from friends. She's getting close to being ready to now.
    With regards to the coach you are referring to he should absolutely not be coaching. If players like and respect their coach they will go through walls for them, even if they get tough love on occasion.
    As sports people we've all see teams with average talent succeed because they respected their coach and would work extra hard for them.
    We all know that confidence can make even the average player better.
    OscarMadison likes this.
  12. Human_Paraquat

    Human_Paraquat Well-Known Member

    High school sports are supposed to create teachable moments. At some point in his life, your sun will encounter a douche of a boss.

    IMO the first step is always to confront that behavior directly with the perpetrator -- perhaps even in writing so you have the paper trail. Then, if you have to go to the AD/Principal/whatever, you have evidence that the issue was brought up with no resolution.

    Maybe the players co-sign an e-mail to the coach and request a meeting to discuss it after the next practice? (This can also help as far as articulating their concerns.)
    exmediahack likes this.
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