In recent years the coaching profession has taken a dive in the wrong direction. There are many things that have changed with the profession. Three that come to mind are parental interference, lack of administrator support, and the entitlement era. When did society change to think that parents have the right to go over the head coaches and athletic director’s position and straight to the Principal or Superintendent of a school district? At college level it’s the President. In a career that spans over 26 years I would have to say this all changed in the coaching world around the year 2000. Having only been in the profession for ten years at that time it became tougher and tougher to deal with parental interference and lack of support from the administration that hired the coach.
Throughout my 26 years in the profession of coaching I have seen the change take place in many situations. When I was a senior in high school (1981) I was part of a situation where other teammates and I didn’t make a good decision. When the situation was brought to the head coach and Principal at the school my mother was called in to discuss the punishment. The coach decided to suspend me for one game, even though I was only an accessory to the crime, and my mother never wavered and I served the suspension. It made me a better person and taught me to hang around people that make good decisions in life. If this type of situation occurred today the parents would be at the school board meeting fighting for the right of their son to play and not to teach him a valuable life lesson.
Many times throughout their career as an athlete, at all levels, they are challenged by all coaches. Sometimes players they are yelled at, told to do extra running, or held to a higher standard because of their behavior or work ethic. Parents did not run to the coaches, athletic director, principal, or the Superintendent to voice their opinion. They trusted that the coaches were doing what was best for their son and the team in that particular situation. Coaching is like any other profession. They are trained and go through an intense learning process to be the best at what they do. Is everyone going to agree with the techniques they use? No, but they are the coach and person in charge. Coaches are usually selected from a significant pool of applicants. They have no control over when the other coach decided to leave or why they left. All they did was apply for an open position and get selected as the one to guide the program. Cultures of a program can’t be changed overnight and coaches should be given the common courtesy to try their techniques to either keep the program where it was or move it in a better direction without the interference of others. Coaches coach and players play. Parents should parent and allow coaches to do their jobs without distraction.
Dr. Bret Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at USSA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
09 March 2016
Bret Simmermacher, DSM