When did it all change in athletics that coaches, players, parents, and so on have decided that the idea behind sports is to pursue the unreachable? The days of playing sports to have fun and enjoy life have gone by the wayside. When I hear stories of aspiring coaches trying to get into the profession of coaching because he and his six-year-old son record sports games and then analyze them later when he gets home from work. The child is six years old! Let him be a kid.
I would consider myself a sports freak back in my youth and through to adulthood. I was one that would rather watch a game in person or television as to go to a movie theater. I’ve never seen Star Wars or Grease. However, I did spend time with my family traveling for vacation and going to my cousins and friends houses to play ditch or some sort of pick up sports game.
I knew every player and their position from my favorite Major League Baseball (MLB) team, National Basketball Association (NBA) team, or National Football League (NFL) team. In most cases I could tell you where they played their college sport and many other things about them. My friends and I would check the standings each day or week to see which teams were in what place or which team overtook our favorite team in the standing. For us this was our way of studying and learning the game.
In today’s society learning or studying the game seems to have taken a twist. Many think taking a lesson from the local sports facility that has a totally different philosophy from the coaching staff of the team they are associated with is learning or studying the game. Most young adults can’t tell you much about the sports they play let alone the athletes that play them. As an experienced player and coach of approximately 45 years I am smart enough to know that getting conflicting information from conflicting sources can’t be a good thing. It defeats the purpose of what team sports are all about.
In order for sports to become fun for all again the “all about me” mentality has to cease. Coaches’, players, parents, and all involved have to realize that a team wins together, not as one. Great coaches and players make the players around them better in their sport and life on a daily basis.
By Dr. Bret Simmermacher
Dr. Simmermacher is the Chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org