When everything is going well, keep your guard up!
Good Morning Coaches,
As some of you already know, I started over with a 6u team this season since my last team aged out. I knew from the start that this would an amazing opportunity to build a team from scratch and lead them all the way to High School. Surely this journey would be full of new challenges and opportunities to become a better Coach and ultimately a better human being.
The early results have been fantastic! The families have been amazing as a whole and the children absolutely make my day! In just these first couple of months, I have already learned so much about the players and myself. There is a strong bond being formed between everybody and a great sense of pride in the product we are developing.\
Everything was going off without a hitch, until last Saturday......
We have been cruising right along through the first 3 weeks of the regular season. Full participation at practice, aside from a few excused absences, great support from our families, and domination on the field! Just how I drew it up!
We played the team that has dominated our league at virtually every age group for the last 10 years or so. We knew we would be outmatched from a size and talent perspective, but I knew that our team would be better disciplined and we hit tremendously hard!
The game was awesome! We ended in a 21-21 tie, they stopped us inside the 5 as the game ended. We almost beat them. They were shocked and their coaches complimented us on how tough we were and how hard we hit them. Looking forward to running this game back next year. Makes for good competitive football.
Now here's where it goes sideways.
Some of the parents, myself included, know families from the other team we played. Their program has a reputation for being less than classy, always a parent issue, never a kid issue. We however do not have that problem. At least I thought!
Later that afternoon, I had just got back to my house from scouting our next opponent when I received a text from a parent that I know from our opponent earlier that day. "Sorry to bother you Coach, but I felt you needed to see this"
One of my parents thought it would be a good idea to have her son and nephew pose for a picture giving the middle finger with a vulgar hashtag directed to our opponent and post it on social media!!! These are 6 year olds. It would be troubling for any age, but this made me sick to my stomach.
It had to be addressed! After a long and insightful conversation with Coach Potter, I felt like I was ready to tackle this issue and make sure everyone understood how this adversely effects every one of us. Thank you Coach Potter, you really helped me approach this with much more confidence!
I had a mandatory Parent Meeting before practice and we went over, in great detail, my rules on conduct. This was all covered in my initial Parent Meeting, but apparently I wasn't clear enough. The meeting went great. I remained composed and transparent, there was no finger pointing and nobody was put on the spot. It was a dignified, productive conversation between adults with an emphasis on developing their children and protecting them from those who may try to exploit them. When I explained that the reason I do this is so I may have the opportunity to have a positive impact on their children's lives. When asked if anyone had any objections to that, the answer was a resounding "Of course not".
At the conclusion of the meeting, the parents applauded and expressed pure gratitude. It was as if I had relieved some kind of burden that many of them were carrying, maybe they just didn't feel it was their place to tell me. Who knows. They hear what other parents say on game day. I do not, so I explained to them that if they're hearing or seeing something that is not a positive impact on our family, please let me know. You will remain anonymous and it will get resolved.
I was also delighted when the parents asked if they could address me about homecoming which is 3 weeks away. They have taken it upon themselves to plan one heck of a celebration, including providing enough food, drinks, and fun activities our families as well as the families of our opponents! I asked them let me know what it costs so I can cover it. They said my money was no good. They insist on covering it.
I'm truly blessed to have such a wonderful group, but like Coach Potter told me. "When everything is going great, always keep your guard up"