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New Coach Taking Over Struggling Team


Troy
 Troy
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My main assistant from last year stepped up to take over the team a year younger than us. We are working together on this challenge. They were mercy-ruled 4 times last season. The team was very tentative and low-effort. They had chronic attendance problems. This year has seen some upheaval as their coach resets expectations and drives them to be better. So far:

  • 6 of 24 players have quit. 4 were returning players from last season.
    • 2 quit after 1 contact practice
    • 2 missed the first 10 practices, came for parts of two weeks, then quit
    • 1 never showed and was dis-enrolled
    • 1 missed the first 2 weeks, then quit after the first game
  • Parent complaints include:
    • "Coach is too 'competitive'."
    • "Coach acts like practice is the Super Bowl."
    • "My (low effort) child only got x plays!"
    • "I was going to sponsor but we are pulling our child out. The competition level and seriousness and emphasis on winning is just not a good fit for our family values." 
  • Of the 6 that have quit, 4 were "MPPs". 2 were good athletes but barely made half the practices.

I have not heard the new coach emphasize "winning." He does emphasize effort and lack of it is not tolerated. Lack of effort is handled with something strenuous and unpleasant. I support this approach.

I've been doing this for 20 years and the parents of kids who quit always say the same thing: "the coach makes it too competitive".  They attempt to gaslight the coach to make him question his approach... as if football can somehow be made to accommodate low effort/low commitment kids. Then they regale anyone who will listen with wild exaggerations and sometimes outright lies about the coach. I'll spare you those details unless you want to hear them.

I think the new coach is doing an excellent job. Yes, his practices are difficult. This is a difficult sport. He is trying to undo the damage done the prior season but it is going to take time. If you do not raise the level of intensity and effort in this league, your team will get their faces rubbed in the mud and that brings out a whole new set of complaints and runs off the talented players.

My advice to him (if he asks) would be to stay on plan, don't worry about Ws and Ls, and focus on getting them to 1) fire out 2) block 3) tackle 4) do their jobs. Everything else proceeds from that.

You do this long enough and you start to see the patterns. The important thing as a coach is to not let yourself be gas-lit by entitled or disgruntled parents into making you question yourself. They have no clue what we are up against as coaches. No clue. Football is hard. It requires commitment. It requires sacrifice. That's what makes it so important for SOME young people. It is not, nor should it be for everyone.

Anyway, just thought I would share.

The longer I coach, the lesser I know.


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gumby_in_co
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Sounds like he's on exactly the right track. And yes, I for one would like to hear the details and lies. I got in an AC's face last week (verbal) and by the third telling, I was using nunchuks on him.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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terrypjohnson
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All I can say to this is that your assistant (and you for that matter) is awesome for taking on this challenge. Anyone can walk into a perfect situation and succeed. He's walking into the proverbial Lion's Den and putting them into a position to improve. That's a true leader.

Football needs a lot more people like the two of you!!

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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mahonz
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Troy

I came to the conclusion years ago that many of these parents are expecting football to be much like the we dont keep score sokker league or the everyone is a winner T Ball league they just came from. 

Basically their kids have earned nothing to date and now everything is earned. Its a shock for many. They suddenly find themselves having to participate in something 4 times per week for a fire breathing dragon of a coach and their precious little snowflakes have tears in their eyes half the time. The obvious reaction is to lash out against football for not being what they expected. 

Its important that your associate knows he is not alone or unique. This chit has been going on since youth sports began. When I was heavily involved as an Admin we decided to address this issue and overcommunicate what football was all about....didn't help. 

I cant even begin to count how many parents are truly shocked by the atmosphere that is football when they show up for the first time. Even the hard core parents are a bit surprised especially with the level of commitment required. So now I keep things internal and go to extremes to train the parents brains. After a couple of seasons its no longer necessary. Now the Vet parents can train up the rookies with eyes as big a saucers. 

So for me.....those 6 kids can go fuck themselves leaving your associate to coach up the kids that want to be there. Maybe he does not realize it yet but he is now in for a season that will be 100 times more enjoyable for everyone....which at the end of the day is the only thing that matters. This off season....all these parents hating on the Program will now begin to hear how awesome things went even if this guy only wins one game. Evergreen is a small community and football an even smaller community. Word will spread. 

Then 2023 and beyond is a breeze for him and his team. 

My take. 

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by mahonz

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @mahonz

I came to the conclusion years ago that many of these parents are expecting football to be much like the we dont keep score sokker league or the everyone is a winner T Ball league they just came from. 

When I coached with Kent, I was at the gear store. A mom, dad and son approached me to ask if I knew anything about helmets. Before long, I realized that he was going to play for me and Kent. The kid was clearly a patch player and had never played a competive sport.

Mom: He really wants to play quarterback. He likes to throw the ball.

Me: We'll give him a chance to compete for that position, but in the end, we'll put him where he has the best chance to succeed. Just to temper your expectations, it would be very rare for a first year player to be effective at quarterback, but we'll give him a fair chance to own it.

Mom: Yeah . . . well . . . they told us this was a "rec" league. To me, that means let every player try different positions and not really focus on winning.

Me: Okay. See you at practice.

This kid ended up playing T for awhile, until he told his teammates that he is messing up on purpose so we'd let him play quarterback. And yes . . . he was a patch kid. Too heavy to play in the backfield.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Troy
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@mahonz

You and I have both been there (and we'll both be there again if we keep doing it) so we know how it is. The new coach is not the type of guy to complain so I try to go out of the way to remind him that he is doing everything right, that losing those kids is addition by subtraction, and that it will take a little while for his team to gel.

When I started out, I was kinda thrown to the wolves, and I over-reacted to the noisy quitter parents. I could have used a steadying voice then. 

The longer I coach, the lesser I know.


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Troy
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5th graders stayed on plan. Won their first game Saturday 68 - 0. I was more excited for them than for my official team.

The longer I coach, the lesser I know.


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mahonz
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Posted by: @troy

5th graders stayed on plan. Won their first game Saturday 68 - 0. I was more excited for them than for my official team.

Lordi! 

I used to wonder how any team can give up or score that many points in a single game. Then the Thuderwolves beat us like 180-0 our 3rd grade season. Dave kept yelling over to me...do you want to declarer this a scrimmage game? I told him no....do what you do....we need to go for the new JYFA record. 

Im thinking we set it. 😲 We laughed about it later on. It was laughable. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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