Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Complaint.
On Monday, May 11th, our minors softball team, played an away game. During this game, the behavior of our head coach was despicable, inexcusable and embarrassing. I have two daughters on his team and have in the past witnessed actions that were on the border of what I would consider acceptable behavior, however last night he crossed the line.
It is my understanding that our league, especially on a minors level, is a learning league. It's meant to be preparation for future sports involvement and this is why I have my daughters enrolled here. I want them to be able to learn the skills needed to continue to play softball through high school and college, if they choose to. It would seem to me that the two things necessary for this to be accomplished would be
(1) that the child be taught the skills of the game and
(2) that they receive positive reinforcement to help build their confidence.
The OPPOSITE of both of those things are currently happening right now. Coach, who told us at the beginning of the year that all of the girls would get to play all positions, has repeatedly stuck the same girls in the outfield and on the bench. On May 11th, it was the first time we had really seen any effort made by him to play girls in new positions. During that game, if the girls missed a ball or made an incorrect play, he yelled at them across the field negatively. There was no positive reinforcement, no redirections - just berating.
When the girls came in from the 5th inning he huddled with them and continued to tell them what a horrible job they were doing which led to several of the girls crying. You would think that upon causing these girls to start crying that Coach would back off, maybe take a break and compose himself, he instead said he didn't care and stomped back onto the field leaving the girls to comfort each other.
I was standing behind the dugout where my daughter, Emilee was literally sobbing and APOLOGIZING for having messed up playing second base for the very first time. Coach left the field and walked up to me and said, "What's the deal [Kate]?" I told him, "the deal is that half of your team is crying Coach." His reponse was, "Well bad attitudes spread like wild fire and if Emilee can't handle second base she shouldn't have asked to play it." And then he went back out onto the field.
I can pretty much assure you that my daughter will never again ask to play any base or be given any kind of chance to learn a new position now that her singular attempt was shot down as being terrible.
Is THAT what we are trying to teach these kids?
The game ended a few minutes later and the umpire approached Coach about his behavior. Coach was argumentative and confrontational. As he walked away from the umpire, the umpire requested his last name so he could contact our board and Coach turned around and said, "None-Ya!" and then proceeded to walk through the dugout (where his team was) saying things like "F--- him" and "I don't give a s---!" and "Don't tell me how to coach my f---ng team!"
This behavior is appalling on its own and he is behaving this way in front of our children.
As the girls were gathering up their belongings, he came back to the dugout where he told the girls that he has to be that rough on them and has to push them to their breaking point in order for them to play better.
I realize that sports can be rough at times and that kids are going to get their feelings hurt. This is our fourth year playing softball and I can promise you this isn't the first time my kids have cried during in a game. However, to be verbally abusive to little girls and then tell them that it is ok because it makes them play better is unacceptable. I will not teach my children that the way to push a person to be their best is to tear them down.
If it weren't for the fact that my girls love playing softball and love their team, we would have left that game and we would not be returning. But they do love softball and they do want to continue playing and I don't think that they should be punished for their coach's behavior.
If Coach doesn't apologize to his team and his parents and make a serious effort to reform his coaching and behavior, I would request that he be removed as the coach and that our two assistant coaches take over for the remainder of the year.

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so eloquently put by katehopeeden at 2:31 AM
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