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Youth Coaching - What Would You Do?


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#1 Proudiddy

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

Any fellow experienced youth coaches with a few minutes, please give this a read... Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

So, I've been coaching an 8-under basketball team as an assistant with my cousin.

So, we've had some up and downs this season, but we have a really talented team - and that's not just coachspeak. Our biggest problem IMO, as expected, is our players have mental lapses that usually result in easy buckets for the other team and that has cost us a few games.

So, today, we started out rough... Our kids kept leaving the other kids open. They were switching who they were guarding every possession without saying anything. Stuff like that. They got focused and we went back up. May have been up by 6 late in the 3rd, which is generally a huge margin for this young of a league.

Well, we let a lot of the stuff go once our players were focused, but the ref was letting the other team get away with murder the entire game. I'm not biased despite me being the coach... These are kids. It's expected a ref will miss a call or let each team get away with something every now and then. But, apparently, the other coach did not teach them or coach them up on skill AT ALL. This other team was playing like goons and their coach was encouraging it.

They were running straight through our players handling the ball by leading with their opposite hand and shoulder and reaching for the ball (right hand to right hand). They did it the entire game. Of course, 8-year-olds want to dribble to their strong side which is something we have to work on, but the ref wasn't even giving them a chance. The other team was literally running through our guys and nothing was called... So, even if they didn't get a steal, they were bumping our players or knocking them around and usually hurting our possession in some illegal fashion.

Additionally, when there was a tie up, their kids were throwing elbows and pulling the ball with our kids holding on trying to roll our kids over and hurt them. Several times a couple of our kids went in for layups and were undercut or bulldozed under the goal. They were throwing Kevin Garnett-style elbows on picks they were setting too. They repeatedly slapped at our kids when they'd pull the ball up to shoot and nothing was called.

I was completely at a loss. One of our most even-keeled kids came off the court at the end crying saying "why are they calling us for this and they're doing the same thing???" That was all his own observation because we won't blame the refs in front of the kids.

To add to that, several parents trying to live through their kids for the other team were laughing at our kids as the ref started calling things on us that they were doing all game unimpeded, and when one of their kids ran straight through our guard bringing the ball up (again, right hand to right hand), stole it, and laid it in as he was fouled. Again, the ref called a foul on our kid running back and fouling their kid, who just fouled him without a call to steal the ball to begin with.

Their parents were cheering them on for fouling us, yelling and laughing at our kids when they reacted and were upset.

I was angry and disgusted. We pretty much lost it right at the end by 5 because of this crap not being called or regulated evenly.

Any advice in general? Some of these kids walked away crying so hard they weren't even breathing... I just told them they did their best and that's all we can ask of them and that we can't control what anyone else does. It was tough man, really tough. Again, these kids are 8-years-old and don't deserve to feel that someone stole that effort from them. We have another game tomorrow and I'm hoping it doesn't linger for them.

#2 cookinbrak

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

Bring it up in your league meeting. Ask that a member of the governing body look into it.

#3 thatlookseasy

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

Identify the worst ref, then slash his tires. Next time he refs one of your games, pull him aside before the game and whisper something like, "next time its gonna be more than your tires" while staring right into his eyes. Cut throat motion is optional

#4 pstall

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

You have to sit down with that coach the ref and your league commish. I have coached for several years and seen bush league stuff.
Hmm. Grown men having to sit down and work thru stuff. Why does this sound familar? Lol

#5 nickzz

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

you yell at the ref during the game. you're a coach. that's what my coach did.

#6 Kevin Greene

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:26 AM

You have no one who administrates the league available to see what's going on?

If the opposing coach is teaching bogus tactics you need to have him removed from his position immediately.

My golf buddy ran AYSO for quite a few years.
The crap that went on with parents and coaches was unbelievable.

#7 Kevin Greene

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:31 AM

G/L

#8 Proudiddy

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

I didn't mean to sound so helpless in the first post, but we have a strict code of conduct, so as coaches there's not a lot we can say that doesn't pertain directly to the game. After the game, my cousin went up to the commish and the ref himself and told them he did absolutely horrible. We'll have to talk more about what those kids were being coached, but I'm not sure that was my cousin's main concern. So we'll see what comes of that, but yeah, there was a league official in there and we talked to him about it. We had numerous people come up and tell us it was horribly reffed and stolen from our kids...

It was just tough to see those kids focus in and put everything on the line and for them to come off the court so upset because they knew it was taken from them.

Oh and trying to be cognizant of the code of conduct stuff, I try to keep interaction with anyone outside of our team (opposing coaches, refs) minimal, especially when I'm angry, like I was yesterday...

Idk, I just really never thought this was the kind of stuff you'd deal with in an U8 league, lol. Thanks everyone for the advice and feedback! We have another game today and hopefully we'll get a fair shake.

#9 pstall

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:56 PM

The main reason I stopped coaching was the parents. I miss it and wouldn't mind coaching again.

It will work out pd.

#10 bigjohn

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:00 PM

I coach high school and have put up with some stuff that is unbelievable. Youth leagues are even worse.

Was the game videoed? You can show that to your league supervisor.

You won't have a leg to stand on with "they took the game from us", but at that level you definitely have a case if the refs are letting it get too physical.

#11 cookinbrak

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

The main reason I stopped coaching was the parents. I miss it and wouldn't mind coaching again.

It will work out pd.


People would not believe how much politics are involved in 6,7, and 8 year old Pop Warner football. That;s why I got out of it.

Had a coach say he followed a kid home from school to verify that he lived in a certain area. "A couple of times, he got picked up and went to a different house" Yeah, that was his Grandma picking him up on days his Mom worked, you freakin' stalker weirdo.

Seen "8 year olds" with moustaches.

#12 jasonluckydog

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:57 AM

I would go insane and start punching the other coach and ref...


That's why I don't attend kids sporting events.

Had a nervous breakdown when my son started wrestling.

You sir are a better man then me.

#13 KendrickPanther

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:22 AM

It's tough. I grew up playing church league basketball in the 90s and it was nothing like that. Most of us were not competitive children like they are now, we just wanted to be like the Tarheels and Hornets. I played in a Gaston County league in High School and it was a rougher crowd but still everyone was respectful.

From my point of view the fact you lost is not important. It stinks, but it's a symptom, not the problem. Dirty play, poor refereeing and disrespectful parents/players was the problem. Identify what you can change, how you can change, and act. You can speak to the league manager and have him relay a message to parents to calm down and show respect. Some parents aren't going to change. It's just like at a High School graduation when they say hold applause till the end and families go wild anyways. One thing you can do is build up a raport with the officials. Talk to them before and after games. Some of them are just helping out, they got volunteered by their wives. They might not know everything. And if it ever gets to that point where you don't feel like it's safe for your kids to be on the court call a timeout and tell the ref your ready to peace out if things don't get under control.

But at the end of the day remember it's 8 year old basketball. The important thing is to have fun. If you don't like the system, change it or talk with your feet.

#14 KendrickPanther

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:27 AM

I wouldn't get worked up about kids that don't understand the fundementals. It's expected that some kids and coaches won't be on the same level as others. When it crosses over to dirty/violent then you have a case. You can't get worked up about every reach in foul though.

#15 g5jamz

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:20 PM

I think you two did the right thing not making a scene during the game. True sporstmenship will be seen in you and your cousin and even parents of the winning team will recognize that. You're going to have a few of the common idiots, but you just have to ignore the "white noise" of youth competitive sports.

I'm a ref commissioner of a league of ~300 kids ages 7-11, and it's important to show your cool. Control what you can control and do the best you can. Refs that let things get out of hand should be asked to reflect on how they called it. Some might get defensive during the game, but open for constructive criticism later. I meet with the league commish tonight to go over the 1st opening day for us and any issues that I saw or he may have heard.

It's about the kids first and foremost and stress that with the parents of your players outside of the ears of the kids. Explain that any issues will not be brought up during the game or immediately thereafter, but through the proper channels. Slow to anger is one of my hardest things to control with my family, but after working with kids (competitive sports, programs) for probably 10 years now...I've grown pretty thickskinned and try to keep what is important in focus.


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