Tom House on youth sports

  • Biggill
    East Bethel, MN
    Posts: 10814

    Great article but I feel a parent who is truly in touch with their child would find all of this common sense.

    My favorite quote from the article because I’m a parent/coach.

    “You’ve got a 16-year-old,” House said during our interview. “Are you aware that a 16-year-old boy, subconsciously, his No. 1 job is to urine you off?”

    This isn’t exclusive to teenagers. I’ve learned very quickly to build an excellent coaching staff partially for this reason. I try and let other coaches I trust work with my child without my input. I often find that there are parents on my child’s teams that know the sport I’m coaching better than I do.

    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 10172

    The problem with youth sports today–and this is across the board–is that the bus is being driven by the CRAZIEST, most gung-ho of the parents. The entire agenda and the way everything works is being run by the exact more-is-more parents who would disagree with everything House says in the article because they don’t think they know better than him, they KNOW they know better than him.

    The pressure to specialize in one sport is overwhelming. If you follow high school athletics, it’s obvious to everyone what’s going on. The one sport culture is set up not to benefit kids, but to serve as a recruiting and drafting mechanism for the programs themselves. Watch which coaches are coaching in non-school (you can’t say “off season” anymore, there is no off-season) “elite” leagues and then watch which kids show up as new open enrollees in the districts where these coaches coach. if you’re not playing in these “elite” leagues, it’s like a college player not coming out for the pro draft.

    Also, the system that is now in place, is the exact opposite of what House says is best for kids in the article. Good luck having a multi-sport athlete these days when everybody from the coaches to the other parents are pushing for more specialization through year-round play. Get this, hockey tryouts were last Friday night, the same night as the Homecoming football game. See above about the bus being driven by the craziest parents.

    And we’re not done yet folks. There are significant numbers of parents willing to buy into the idea that MN high school sports have too many rules and there are active efforts going on to form HS hockey and HS basketball private leagues in MN that would pull kids out of high school teams and place them on private teams in a league that runs during the normal season for these sports. The idea behind this is that by doing this, they don’t have to abide by any of the rules they consider “restrictive” like seasons, etc.

    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 5747

    Tons of common sense in that article that is unfortunately not so “common.”

    I’ve coached basketball from 6th grade – JV level.

    I’ve coached football from 5th grade – the Varsity level.

    I’ve coached baseball for 7th-8th grade.

    The biggest unifying factor in all of those things and what is “wrong” with youth sports is the parents. Kids are a dry sponge that take in everything for better or worse. In all my years coaching, if a kid is an a**hole at least one of the parents are too. They consume everything around them whether it be through positive interactions with coaches, negative interactions between parents and coaches, videos shared on social media and so on.

    Parents need to realize that there is value in competition and sports even when you lose, if your kid isn’t the best, if no scholarships are awarded, or if it is difficult. Find value in NOT taking the path of least resistance (quitting, transferring, blaming) and value the process rather than the end result. Student athletes or kids’ brains are NOT fully developed. It’s the job of the parents to paint the big picture and provide life’s teaching moments. I played 3 sports in a smaller rural school that graduated maybe 120 kids per grade. My parents were quick to knock me down a few notches when needed, or remind me that an all-conference recognition along with $1 might get me a cup of coffee, and nothing more. I remember making a buzzer beater my Junior Year to beat the third ranked team in the state, and my dad high-fived me after and then asked about my 2 missed free throws in the second half immediately after smash

    Be realistic with your children. Rarely are genetics defeated. If you and your wife were high school varsity athletes, that is likely the ceiling for your children (with hard work) except in rare circumstances. Own it and be up front with your kids about it.

    Posts: 8159

    Honestly the crazy parents are the reasons I coach.
    A. I don’t want them coaching.
    B. I do a pretty good job of shielding the kids and my coaches from them.

    I coach football hockey and baseball. The only one I don’t coach is soccer because I need a break and want to be part of the cheer squad once and awhile.
    Thankfully I have had a lot of experience doing so, and the parents pretty much let me do my thing so far.
    I tell them at the begging this is our team. If there is in issue we as a team will handle it.
    You are there to cheer and support the team. Pretty black and white.

    Posts: 1091

    My oldest umpired baseball ages 9 – 16 years old. He saw plenty. That said he noted that the vast majority of coaches and parents were really pretty good.

    Coaches are actually held to a pretty high standard of behavior in most leagues. A hostile coach could be banned. Parents can be a different story. Most often the coach would ask the parent to leave or leave the area behind the backstop.

    Most parents’ negative actions are behind the scenes and not in actual game situations. Especially true at the HS level.

    There are some rather poor coaches out there also. That is why I often coached, assistant coached, or even was the team manager … provide balance and some level of consistency. If I lacked the skill set to teach and advance specific skills … I found assistant coaches who could. Some of those really skilled individuals though lacked the overall skill set to manage (head coach) a group of kids through a “successful” season.

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