Mean coaches. Over the years, I’ve heard some real doozies.
“Now you can take up knitting,” said the high school soccer coach to the student athlete she was cutting from the team.
“We stopped listening after the forty-seventh F-bomb” explained the high school basketball player when asked what the coach said during a post-game “pep” talk.
Why do we allow coaches to speak to our kids in a manner that would be completely unacceptable anywhere else?
For example, what if your son walked into his chemistry class one day and the teacher welcomed him with: “Why are you even in here in Honors Chem? So you can get laid? For p*%##?”
If it’s not okay for a high school science teacher to say this to one of their students, why should it be okay for a high school lacrosse coach to model that kind of speech? (And that really was said to a high school lacrosse player.)
Let’s say your daughter was attending an after school Spanish club meeting and the advisor asked: “Where’s your fat brother? Why isn’t he here?” (A question asked by a high school football coach during off season weight lifting.)
Why do so many coaches curse, intimidate, belittle, name call, and yell at their athletes?
Maybe it reflects their inability to coach, so they yell. Or maybe no one tells them that they can’t behave that way.
Can you imagine if high school teachers taught the way some high school coaches coach? Picture a teacher running down a row of desks, grabbing a student by the shirt, pulling him up off his chair, shoving him towards the front of class yelling, “Get up there, kid!! Solve this geometry problem for us!”
Imagine if your student came home from school and reported that because they were late to class, the teacher yelled, “Drop and give me twenty (push-ups)!” And if they protested: “Class started three minutes ago—we don’t run on your schedule, now make it fifty—and if you complain again, it will be a hundred.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a coach as “one who instructs or trains” and a teacher as: “one who teaches, one whose occupation is to instruct.” Not much difference between the two, really.
We wouldn’t tolerate this behavior in theater or orchestra.
Imagine opening night of the school play, the auditorium packed with parents, relatives, teachers, and fellow students, when the director in the middle of a scene shouts: “What the HELL are you doing—move over, move over—Are you an idiot? That’s not your spot. ”
The next time the orchestra performs for a crowd and the violinist misses a note, the conductor should throw the baton on the floor, and yell at the musician. You know, the way a rude coach would do when someone on the team misses a throw, catch, or goal during a game.
There are those extraordinary coaches who model the behavior they hope to develop in their budding athletes. So why do principals, school officials, athletic directors, and parents tolerate anything less?