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League leadership is failing


gumby_in_co
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I coach in one of 2 large Denver metro area youth football leagues. We used to be the "big" one. We've lost a lot of clubs and teams to our cross-town rival as well as other smaller nearby leagues. All leagues have taken a hit on numbers due to the CTE scare. This year, there was a bump in numbers that most of us think resulted from parents wanting some kind of physical activity after a year in a pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are 2 self-inflicted situations that will probably result in a loss of that "bump" in the next season or two.

1) Due to lack of numbers, the league had to do away with "divisions" based on W/L, experience, etc. I've lost 40-0 twice this season and it's entirely possible that it happens again. I'm actually "okay" with that and I make sure my staff and players understand that a blowout loss or 4 is not the end of the world. It's simply a sign that we all need to continue to work. Our goal was to be competitive this year vs the teams that traditionally mercy us. Were we? Since that's subjective, I'd say "yes". To some degree we were competitive in both losses. We moved the ball (inconsistently) and we made some stops. In both blowout losses, we gave up 6 big plays. We're working on that. So what's the problem? First, the parents of these kids are the ones who decide whether their kid plays and pay registration fees. I'm not aware of any parents who decided "screw this" and took their kid out of football because they were sick of blowout losses, but there have been about a half dozen players in 3 seasons who took their kids to a better team thinking their kid would have a better experience. (for the most part, they have been wrong). Second, there are 5 out of 16 teams in our league that we could literally name our own score on. Thankfully, we only have 1 of those teams on our schedule this year. We won 38-18, but I experimented heavily on offense/KR and subbed heavily on defense. We could have scored 100 on them if we'd run Beast every play. Saturday morning, the #1 team in the league, who beat us 40-0 and are 37-0 since they have been a team will face a team who is currently 0-4 with 12PF and 145PA (just over 36ppg). They lost 54-0 to a team that we beat handily.

Due to the numbers issue, the league was forced to dissolve "divisions". With a 10-team league, I supposed that's understandable. Then, they came up with a "Tier" system that a) made absolutely no sense to anyone and b) was never implemented due to COVID. This year, we have 16 teams in our league and could have easily gone into 2 divisions . . . but didn't. And now you have "mercied us" vs "we would mercy them" scheduled for Saturday about a block from my house. I asked why games like this are allowed to happen and was told the league thought, "this is how those struggling teams get better."  I'm going to let that comment sit like a dog turd on the carpet. I will be there Saturday and will film the first half before going off to scout elsewhere. I'll put this game on Youtube and share the link here mainly because I struggle with the reality that this game is even taking place.

2) We have a severe shortage of referees. This is 100% due to the league's lack of discipline for coach/parent behavior. This goes well beyond the typical crazy coach/parent who argue every call and verbally abuse the officials. We are talking about brawls, threats of violence to the refs and even assaults on refs. Every season, I get 3-4 emails reminding us or "making us aware" that we need to be on our best behavior. I sent an email to the league 2 seasons ago that if they want this to stop, they need to unflinchingly enforce their own rules. If a coach, player or parent is ejected, they are supposed to serve a 1 game suspension. Suspensions are almost universally ignored. Since 2011, due to how much scouting I do, I have identified 2 coaches, 4 players and 1 parent who were ejected one week, but respectively coached, played or spectated the very next week. Nothing was ever done. I recommended to the league that instead of sending a generic email blast 4 times per season lamenting the poor sideline behavior, they need to send a weekly email identifying every single incident, the teams/names/numbers of those involved and the punishment received. Nothing was ever done. 

It is so bad that games are regularly rescheduled at the last minute. We are told that they simply couldn't find officials for the scheduled place/time and it's either move or not play. Some specifics:

1) We had a game rescheduled 2 weeks ago to a field 1 hour away. It was a Saturday game. I did not get notified. I'm in the habit of checking our schedule early and often.

2) We were told in a coaches meeting that our league pays officials more than the cross town rival league and even more than the high schools, yet due to our reputation, there is tremendous reluctance to work our games.

3) We are forced to endure guys like "Brad" who was investigated (and apparently acquitted) for assaulting 2 4th grade players during a game. Brad also had a melt down 3 weeks ago, going on a profanity-laden temper tantrum on my sideline . . . but directed at the far sideline. It's either Brad or no one.

4) The first two rookie tackle games (I'm an AC for one of these teams) had no referees. The set of games, the refs were a "no show". For the second, teams were directed via email to use ACs/parents as refs. Those games were also moved to the field 1 hour away and on a Sunday. We were told, "It's either that, or don't play with refs". 

5) We expect Friday's game to be rescheduled (9:45 am on a Thursday and still no word) because the team we are playing can no longer have home games. Their entire club/org is so poorly behaved that referees universally refuse to work their home field. Their last home game was played at that field an hour away.

At least 2 emails have gone out stating, "don't complain to the league over schedule changes" and "you have no one to blame but yourselves due to your poor behavior."

Again, I'll post the video of that "David's baby brother vs Goliath's whole family" game. The product is suffering and I can see a lot of parents refusing to return for this garbage.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

We are talking about brawls, threats of violence to the refs and even assaults on refs.

I don't have an issue with this, as long as it's not happening in front of players.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

We are forced to endure guys like "Brad" who was investigated (and apparently acquitted) for assaulting 2 4th grade players during a game. Brad also had a melt down 3 weeks ago, going on a profanity-laden temper tantrum on my sideline . . . but directed at the far sideline.

This is why I don't have an issue with it.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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Sadly your post could have been written in 1985 or 1995 or 2005 or 2015 and the gist would be the same. 

The issue JYFA has is that its 100% run by volunteers and turnover is fast. The Officiating now is far and away in better shape than it was in 2005. That is due to the Golden Director taking over the issue in 2007 and at least turning it over to a Group that is an actual business. They handle multiple sports. 

Sticking to a season long schedule was also a nightmare when the League was growing at a pace no one could keep up with. The real reason there are not enough fields now is money. If you have 15 teams in your Org you have cash flow. If you have only 4 then you are broke. So the CTE scare has basically forced teams to coop field use and since there are so few actual football field to use...the Parks and Rec people are now involved. They have to schedule Sokker, flag and LAX and since these sports are growing....any considerations for tackle football comes last. It would be nice if the School Districts were willing to rent out their football fields....but few are interested in the administration and maintenance required to do that. The Pitbulls renting AWHS every Spring was a favor only because I knew a gal. APEX laughed at me because MHFL had already ripped them off big time. 

Im sure you have 100 stories about hockey but I believe youth tackle football has become so unimportant to certain entities that the struggle is only going to get worse. 

I been on probably 500 youth football sidelines as a coach. Never not one time did I ever see an issue like I have seen at a couple of the 100 or so youth baseball games I have attended as a fan over the years. It shocked me. So the loonies are everywhere. I seriously doubt JYFA has the bad rap with the Officials. its just another excuse to cover for their own poor management. Plus you are stuck with Brad. Remember that game in Brighton? They have it good! 

And I agree the product is suffering due to the lack of Divisions. Divisions were a good thing but pre 1995 didn't exist. I do remember Highlands Ranch's first year in the League. Quite a few 88 ish-0 games. Then they got it together. With out Divisions there will never be any parity. The Davids vs Goliaths will continue. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @coachdp
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

We are talking about brawls, threats of violence to the refs and even assaults on refs.

I don't have an issue with this, as long as it's not happening in front of players.

--Dave

I can understand telling him he's an idiot, or telling him he sucks. Not my thing, but I can understand it. Threats and assaults? No way. No room for that in polite society and this is coming from a former Marine who used to get in fist fights on at least a weekly basis.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Coach Kyle
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Our league makes the mercy rules so annoying that nobody dares run it up too bad. You have to pull 8 of your best kids. You still have to do kick off and kick return. Lots of kids go completely out of position. Lots of people won't run up the score more than 14 just because they want agency. 

 

ok that's a lie. but they definitely don't do it too much

Deaths while walking 4,743Deaths from football 12


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @coach-kyle

Our league makes the mercy rules so annoying that nobody dares run it up too bad. You have to pull 8 of your best kids. You still have to do kick off and kick return. Lots of kids go completely out of position. Lots of people won't run up the score more than 14 just because they want agency. 

 

ok that's a lie. but they definitely don't do it too much

Our league limits the posted score to a 40 point differential, regardless of what really happened.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Coach Kyle
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@gumby_in_co 

Well there you go. That explains it. You should suggest our method.

People will boo and hiss. There are lots of reasons not to do it, but the results are pretty good.The results are that either 

1) people put in their 2nd string early

2) people pull their top 8 and now the power shifts wildly in the other direction, thus making the game seem more competitive 

3) the dominant team can hold them but the game is more competitive 

It's actually kinda nuts when #2 happens because it becomes a shootout. Rarely do teams ever come back after the pull card.

Deaths while walking 4,743Deaths from football 12


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gumby_in_co
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So I didn't get to film that game. Friday night, they made a last minute change from 9am Saturday at a field a block from my house to 3pm at a field across town. Posted score is 40-0. Can't imagine what the real score was, or what the game looked like.

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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