Boy, if that title isn’t clickbait, I don’t know what is??
So, I’ll need to temper this a bit because I do have people in my community who read this nonsense *waves to everyone* and I have people who don’t know me who will read this and impressions are everything.
I love coaching. If you’ve been with me long enough, you know that coaching is a passion of mine. If I could make money coaching, I would. I passed on my one shot at moving up in the ranks a long time ago (very small children were in the house at the time) and I’m ok with that decision. 8th-grade basketball offers me the chance to teach in a real low-pressure environment. I’m very frank with each team that as much as their moms and dads and guardians want them to win, no one outside of those people really cares. This is their time to work, to prepare for high school basketball, and I expect them to do as such.
That is until the parents behave badly. I tweeted this out last night that I wish I would stop getting content from basketball, but I swear I could write three or four blogs about stuff that happened this year! Today, it’s not about my team, but another unnamed team we played and THEIR parents (although I’m NOT happy with the way some of my parents have been acting).
After getting absolutely drilled our first three games, we’ve been competitive in the last four. We are growing and doing better all the way around. We have very immobile post players (tall girls), but have been able to overcome, to a certain degree. One thing we don’t do well is screening, that idea of setting ourselves up to scrap a defender off another player. A proper screen has one of our girls coming up, setting her feet shoulder width apart, getting set, and getting our hands in a position where we can protect ourselves. We tend to be moving and lean into the screen, which is a big no-no.
Anyway, we’ve had fouls called and we’ll work on it in practice tonight. During this game, our screens, while not perfect, were markedly better. They were set, most of the time, so I had little to complain about, but boy did the parents of our opponents. Time after time after time, “MOVING SCREEN,” or “ARE YOU BLIND”, or my favorite “JUST KNOCK HER OVER”. Good grief. Then there was the stuff I could not hear. I’d called time out and the girls ran over and just went off on the fans, about how they were trash talking them about everything. It was getting under their skin. So we spent the timeout dealing with the emotional drama of the crowd rather than playing good defense.
/ranton 8th-grade basketball. Seriously. Your. Kids. Are. Watching. You. Behave. Badly. This is why, when I assign seats in class, I have students who feel they can “reassign” themselves. This is why when I make simple requests, I am questioned at every single turn. This is why as I coach, I want things done a certain way, and I get “why”. When your kids see you behaving badly (and I assume that attitude is on the car ride home too), they get that attitude of “if mom and dad can do it, why can’t it”. /rantoff
And this is why I ask parents to sign a parent pledge, to be good role models. This is why I have players pledge to be the best teammates they can be, on AND off the floor. I’m not naive enough to believe that basketball can make generally unpleasant people suddenly into rays of sunshine. However, I demand respect for teammates, period. If you can’t be respectful for a month and a half, why are you on this team?
A Twitter friend talked about how it’s getting harder and harder to find coaches and officials to referee games. I’d have to agree, which leads to the question, if you are going to behave badly in the stands and the officials suddenly up and leave, will you pick up the whistle and step in? If the coach for your son or daughter grows tired of your constant chatter, will you pick up the clipboard and step in?
If the answer is no, then I question your life choices that you’d think about endangering your child’s season to satisfy a petty desire to be right.
Is it worth it?
November 30, 2021 at 12:50 pm
I think it is not only on a playing field where the adults behave worse than kids. Sometimes the expectation of simple respect seems beyond their capacity. They could learn form the children. Fortunately, many adults also set a good example to the kids.
December 1, 2021 at 9:19 am
>many adults also set a good example to the kids.<
This is what my wife said and I know I have a boatload of parents who do the right thing. I don't thank them enough for just being there and cheering on their daughters!
November 30, 2021 at 2:05 pm
Sounds like a very negative experience – and I fear it is becoming more the norm. Thank you for coaching kids, and modeling better behavior!
December 1, 2021 at 9:17 am
>Thank you for coaching kids, and modeling better behavior!<
It's funny because when we go the locker room at half time, I want to curse a blue streak and my team is so "coming, just swear!".
But, I bite my tongue and say, "That's not how I coach." My hope is that this rubs off.
November 30, 2021 at 4:53 pm
I just don’t understand why this is such a perennial problem with parents of kids in sports. We experienced the same with soccer parents (both from our own son’s team and opposing teams). Like basketball, soccer is in dire need of refs. But, the refs are beaten up by the parents – things get shouted not only at the players but also at the refs by parents of both teams during a game. It was disgustingly bad behavior. And, yes, the kids – their own kids – are watching and learning! Great post! I hope it improves.
December 1, 2021 at 9:14 am
> And, yes, the kids – their own kids – are watching and learning!<
This is what saddens and angers me the most. The behavior is being normalized over and over again. It's frustrating to me because I'm very much a rule follower and this behavior goes against all my core beliefs. 😦
December 5, 2021 at 10:28 am
I could go on and on about my experiences with this Darin. It is so annoying and detrimental to our youth. They emulate what they see adults do and poor behavior is something that they don’t need to see. I hope your season improves as far a spectator behavior.
November 30, 2021 at 5:51 pm
So frustrating! Can you ban parents from attending games? I know in minor hockey here in Ontario the arena can, and will, ask parents to leave the stands if they can’t behave. The team can be penalized by the refs if the parents are misbehaving. I think it has probably helped some, but I’m not a hockey mom so I can’t say for sure.
December 1, 2021 at 9:21 am
>The team can be penalized by the refs if the parents are misbehaving.<
I like this idea! I have no issues with some of the tomfoolery that goes on in the stands, but when players are crying or so angry about what's being said to/at them, that where the line needs to be drawn.
November 30, 2021 at 10:10 pm
Hey Darin. Excellent post. This is such an important issue you bring up. The problem is that people are so caught up in winning that they forget their manners. People don’t care about treating fellow humans with respect any more and it’s sad. If people want to figure out why we are divided as a country, they need only to look there on the sports fields to see the origin of our problems. It’s called respect and kindness, Ground zero for a civilized society. Your approach is a good one, encouraging the parents and kids to be good sportsmen and spectators. I’m sure you are already having a positive impact with the rules and boundaries you are setting. 🙂
December 1, 2021 at 9:12 am
> It’s called respect and kindness, Ground zero for a civilized society. I’m sure you are already having a positive impact with the rules and boundaries you are setting. <
Up until this year, I'd say yes. Right now, I'd doubting everything I'm doing because none of it seems to work.