Worst Coach Stories

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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The absolute worst outcome from youth sports is kids walking away from an activity that is, at its core, supposed to be fun as a result of bad adult behavior. As such, I feel for some of you in this thread.

Instead of sharing some horror stories from my dozen years coaching farm up through U19 travel baseball - though I am happy to do that - I will relate what I have learned.

1. As many others have stated - the main goal is for kids to have fun and learn to love the sport. Objective 1A is for the kids to improve their skills.

2. Regarding winning, being competitive is very important and misunderstood. Most kids tend to be naturally competitive so even when we weren't keeping score, such as at farm or in scrimmages, the kids were.

In my experience, being competitive (not winning per se but being in games), even if you don't win, is inextricably intertwined with the kids having a good time. Programs that emphasize skills development and ignore being competitive tend to turn the kids off. Teams that aren't up to competing will often be beaten in a demoralizing fashion - even if you aren't about winning in youth sports, its the main goal of the vast majority of your competition. Love of a sport cannot blossom if you are a proverbial doormat.

As a side note, even though kids value the ability to compete, they tend to forget tough losses or even amazing wins much faster than parents and coaches. I marvel at that - its pretty remarkable.

3. The best youth baseball coaches I've seen balance all the above while allowing their players to fail. They will never chastise a kid for striking out or making an error, especially a physical one. They also reward/incentivize hustle and a good attitude. At the high school level, it makes all the difference for a kid if they don't feel like one bad AB will bury them for the balance of the season. Also, good coaches don't really "coach" in games as the message is more often than not lost.

4. As others have noted upthread, in LL I will only draft kids that receive high attitude marks from their previous coaches. If the choice is between a toolsy kid with a poor attitude or a middling one with a great attitude, the latter gets my pick every time. One of the biggest fallacies of coaching is that you can "coach up" athletes. There is never enough time to do everything you want to do and if you have to work with a kid/family that is a problem that creates an even bigger time suck. More importantly, all the kids tend to have a good time when everyone is pulling in the same direction whereas one bad apple can ruin an entire team.

5. Parents are, on balance, very unrealistic about evaluating their kids skills. Any league or program that wants to focus on the kids does all it can to minimize parental involvement in how teams are run, line-ups are made etc. For-profit travel teams are a nightmare because they can and do fall victim to pay-to-play situations where mom/dad writes extra checks to get their kid more reps at a position. Obviously, parent-coaches are a problem in this regard, more so in rec leagues where families are stuck with these people.

6. Lastly, in most little leagues where they have playoffs, every team makes it to the post-season. This means that there is no excuse not to give kids multiple chances to pitch or play whatever position they want to try provided there are no safety or health issues. We will even check back with kids who have stated they don't want to pitch to, at least, get them an inning or two. If coaches don't do this, especially early in the season, they are failing at their main job which is point number one above.

Sorry for the TL/DR but I care about making sure kids love baseball & sports so they continue to play until the sport tells them they can no longer continue. And even then, hopefully they pass on their love of the game to the next generation.
Please write a coaching book.

Seriously.

Not joking.

The nut bags I see when I'm reffing all need to read it.
 

LoweTek

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The thing amazing to me year after year is the extent coaches will go to stack teams. We're just getting underway with the Fall season (10U rec league). The guys who have been controlling the Board the past few years are taking more and more liberties with rosters at the beginning of the season. Last week in a draft which was supposed to be fair, I was scammed out of not one but two first round picks because one of the more 'influential' coaches wanted one of my star players who I had by league rule, the right to protect in the draft. He is the best player in the age group and had no reason to want to play on another team unless his parents were fed a bunch of bullshit.

It's a TL;DR story but some of the crap these guys pull is beyond the pale. They don't understand the concept of 'bad optics,' regardless of the truth.

Much like DBMH's story, I'd rather have have 11 mediocre players who want to play for me and have fun than eight with 2-3 troublemakers (parents or players) unhappy because they did not get on the team with the 'good' players.

I want to accomplish exactly what DBMH said: help kids make baseball a part of their lives for the rest of their lives and teach them to play the game right.

I've coached almost all age levels over more than 15 years of active coaching, never my own kid on my team. Every year the scheming and scamming gets worse and more blatant.

I have half a mind to report them to the District but it would result in me being unable to continue to coach in this league.

So it goes.
 

riboflav

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Please write a coaching book.

Seriously.

Not joking.

The nut bags I see when I'm reffing all need to read it.
I love DjBMH. We agree on almost everything... basketball, anyway. That said, what you're seeking already exists. Start with Brian McCormick. He has books, Youtube videos, podcasts, thousands of tweets about how to do youth sports properly in America. And while there aren't many like him, he's not alone. But, seriously, start with him.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The thing amazing to me year after year is the extent coaches will go to stack teams. We're just getting underway with the Fall season (10U rec league). The guys who have been controlling the Board the past few years are taking more and more liberties with rosters at the beginning of the season. Last week in a draft which was supposed to be fair, I was scammed out of not one but two first round picks because one of the more 'influential' coaches wanted one of my star players who I had by league rule, the right to protect in the draft. He is the best player in the age group and had no reason to want to play on another team unless his parents were fed a bunch of bullshit.

It's a TL;DR story but some of the crap these guys pull is beyond the pale. They don't understand the concept of 'bad optics,' regardless of the truth.

Much like DBMH's story, I'd rather have have 11 mediocre players who want to play for me and have fun than eight with 2-3 troublemakers (parents or players) unhappy because they did not get on the team with the 'good' players.

I want to accomplish exactly what DBMH said: help kids make baseball a part of their lives for the rest of their lives and teach them to play the game right.

I've coached almost all age levels over more than 15 years of active coaching, never my own kid on my team. Every year the scheming and scamming gets worse and more blatant.

I have half a mind to report them to the District but it would result in me being unable to continue to coach in this league.

So it goes.
This stuff is unfortunate but I see it all too often and from people who ostensibly support our efforts to have a level playing field (as I mentioned in earlier posts, our local LL makes parity a primary goal - the downside is that San Francisco Little League will have an extremely difficult time ever sending a team to Williamsport). I believe they rationalize it as part of the competitive aspect of coaching and I will be the first to admit that one of the reasons I enjoy coaching is that it scratches the competitive itch. However I play the hand I have been dealt and though I sometimes need to remind myself, the main goals are (1) and (1A) above - get them to love the sport and improve their skills.

It is bullshit when coaches stack teams though because everybody knows including the kids. It creates an interesting dynamic as everyone wants to not just beat that team but humiliate them in the process (I am as guilty of this as anyone else - I love handily defeating teams where the coaches are bad actors more than just about any other kind of victory -and that probably isn't healthy tbh).

Furthermore, when those teams succeed, their success is waved away by everyone as the byproduct of rule-bending or cheating. And if they fall short, people revel in their demise. Ultimately, it hurts the kids including those on the stacked team and if their parents are the coaches, their sins unfortunately flow down to the kids in the eyes of some people.

I agree with your approach btw - better to stay quiet and try to beat them. And please beat them.

Finally, thank you for the compliments BJ and riboflav but I just typed out what I consider to be common sense ideas. In my experience, there are a lot of great, caring, thoughtful coaches out there to offset all the bad ones. A book wouldn't help the latter group imho - you either get it or you don't.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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I love DjBMH. We agree on almost everything... basketball, anyway. That said, what you're seeking already exists. Start with Brian McCormick. He has books, Youtube videos, podcasts, thousands of tweets about how to do youth sports properly in America. And while there aren't many like him, he's not alone. But, seriously, start with him.
Yeah, there are a few.

I personally like Reed Maltbie.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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This stuff is unfortunate but I see it all too often and from people who ostensibly support our efforts to have a level playing field (as I mentioned in earlier posts, our local LL makes parity a primary goal - the downside is that San Francisco Little League will have an extremely difficult time ever sending a team to Williamsport). I believe they rationalize it as part of the competitive aspect of coaching and I will be the first to admit that one of the reasons I enjoy coaching is that it scratches the competitive itch. However I play the hand I have been dealt and though I sometimes need to remind myself, the main goals are (1) and (1A) above - get them to love the sport and improve their skills.

It is bullshit when coaches stack teams though because everybody knows including the kids. It creates an interesting dynamic as everyone wants to not just beat that team but humiliate them in the process (I am as guilty of this as anyone else - I love handily defeating teams where the coaches are bad actors more than just about any other kind of victory -and that probably isn't healthy tbh).

Furthermore, when those teams succeed, their success is waved away by everyone as the byproduct of rule-bending or cheating. And if they fall short, people revel in their demise. Ultimately, it hurts the kids including those on the stacked team and if their parents are the coaches, their sins unfortunately flow down to the kids in the eyes of some people.

I agree with your approach btw - better to stay quiet and try to beat them. And please beat them.

Finally, thank you for the compliments BJ and riboflav but I just typed out what I consider to be common sense ideas. In my experience, there are a lot of great, caring, thoughtful coaches out there to offset all the bad ones. A book wouldn't help the latter group imho - you either get it or you don't.
It should be common sense. But it's not.

I see coaches berating 10 year old kids (and the refs) like it's the final four.

Like dude....relax. This is 5th grade basketball. Let the kids learn and actually enjoy the game.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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It should be common sense. But it's not.

I see coaches berating 10 year old kids (and the refs) like it's the final four.

Like dude....relax. This is 5th grade basketball. Let the kids learn and actually enjoy the game.
This is the conundrum with youth sports.

Most coaching roles are volunteer in nature or, if there is any sort of compensation, its tiny. As a result, leagues are generally always looking for bodies to coach and the net result is that they tend to get some people who may have the basic qualifications but are flawed in other ways. This includes the inability to balance their competitiveness with making sure the kids have fun/learn as well as people who have little control in other areas of their lives and use their coaching position to compensate.

As you note - its just kids playing sports and even I occasionally need to remind myself of that. However there are a bunch of people who take it way beyond that to extreme levels of competitiveness or "tribal identity" and end up doing far more harm than good.

Nobody should be berating 10 year olds and I am not a big fan of yelling at youth athletes in general, especially given kids these days don't tend to respond to that approach anyhow (high school players are a bit different in that many of the guys can be straight numbskulls but yelling at them is also rarely effective). Unfortunately, as I noted upthread, these people generally aren't inclined to listen to outside advice and will rail against parents/kids being soft instead of even considering that some of the criticism might be constructive.

I don't know an easy fix but if people want to change this culture in their local leagues, they need to step up and coach themselves. Again, part of the bad dynamic stems from the lack of quality volunteers. Unfortunately, many people are either intimidated by the commitment, worried about their qualifications or simply don't have the time. As I noted upthread, if you can get the kids to have fun and improve their basic skills, especially at the younger age groups, you've done a good job. Bill Belichick or Greg Popovich's approach/methods aren't needed at this level. Just someone with enthusiasm, perspective and the ability to learn.
 

BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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This is the conundrum with youth sports.

Most coaching roles are volunteer in nature or, if there is any sort of compensation, its tiny. As a result, leagues are generally always looking for bodies to coach and the net result is that they tend to get some people who may have the basic qualifications but are flawed in other ways. This includes the inability to balance their competitiveness with making sure the kids have fun/learn as well as people who have little control in other areas of their lives and use their coaching position to compensate.

As you note - its just kids playing sports and even I occasionally need to remind myself of that. However there are a bunch of people who take it way beyond that to extreme levels of competitiveness or "tribal identity" and end up doing far more harm than good.

Nobody should be berating 10 year olds and I am not a big fan of yelling at youth athletes in general, especially given kids these days don't tend to respond to that approach anyhow (high school players are a bit different in that many of the guys can be straight numbskulls but yelling at them is also rarely effective). Unfortunately, as I noted upthread, these people generally aren't inclined to listen to outside advice and will rail against parents/kids being soft instead of even considering that some of the criticism might be constructive.

I don't know an easy fix but if people want to change this culture in their local leagues, they need to step up and coach themselves. Again, part of the bad dynamic stems from the lack of quality volunteers. Unfortunately, many people are either intimidated by the commitment, worried about their qualifications or simply don't have the time. As I noted upthread, if you can get the kids to have fun and improve their basic skills, especially at the younger age groups, you've done a good job. Bill Belichick or Greg Popovich's approach/methods aren't needed at this level. Just someone with enthusiasm, perspective and the ability to learn.
Absolutely.

The problem is their coaching training is 95% seeing college and NBA coaches "work the refs" and they grew up with their amateur level coaches yelling at the players...so they do the same.

I'm not going to disagree that players are softer than before, but i don't think middle school is where you treat them like paid players either. They're still trying to find out what sports they like. And that age should be a feeder for the HS program. Kids who like basketball and develop their skills so they can meaningfully contribute to the team.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Absolutely.

The problem is their coaching training is 95% seeing college and NBA coaches "work the refs" and they grew up with their amateur level coaches yelling at the players...so they do the same.

I'm not going to disagree that players are softer than before, but i don't think middle school is where you treat them like paid players either. They're still trying to find out what sports they like. And that age should be a feeder for the HS program. Kids who like basketball and develop their skills so they can meaningfully contribute to the team.
I agree with everything you are saying though I am not sure about the "soft" label for young players.

I know my fellow coaches tend to think that they are - especially the "pro-style" coaches you reference - but I think its roughly as its always been. In my experience, there are still plenty of kids who work hard, don't complain and don't run to their parents every time adversity hits. And then there the opposites who don't feel the need to show up to or give max effort at practice, will complain at any perceived slight and can often make what is supposed to be a team sport about them. I don't know if this phenomena is more prevalent now but we certainly had those types growing up, including some of the better athletes who participated on my own youth teams.

Parents on the other hand...that is for another thread. As OWN notes upthread, if you ever have any experience with the administration of youth sports leagues or teams, things are definitely more challenging. Its remarkable how many highly educated, otherwise well meaning parents consider volunteer coaches and organizers the same as regular service providers. Parents deserve to be heard and active communication with them is essential imho. But a volunteer youth coach shouldn't be viewed as similar to someone whose compensation is directly tied to the level of service they provide. Unfortunately, more than a handful of parents don't see it that way...
 
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BJBossman

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Dec 6, 2016
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I agree with everything you are saying though I am not sure about the "soft" label for young players.

I know my fellow coaches tend to think that they are - especially the "pro-style" coaches you reference - but I think its roughly as its always been. In my experience, there are still plenty of kids who work hard, don't complain and don't run to their parents every time adversity hits. And then there the opposites who don't feel the need to show up to or give max effort at practice, will complain at any perceived slight and can often make what is supposed to be a team sport about them. I don't know if this phenomena is more prevalent now but we certainly had those types growing up, including some of the better athletes who participated on my own youth teams.

Parents on the other hand...that is for another thread. As OWN notes upthread, if you ever have any experience with the administration of youth sports leagues or teams, things are definitely more challenging. Its remarkable how many highly educated, otherwise well meaning parents consider volunteer coaches and organizers the same as regular service providers. Parents deserve to be heard and active communication with them is essential imho. But a volunteer youth coach shouldn't be viewed as similar to someone whose compensation is directly tied to the level of service they provide. Unfortunately, more than a handful of parents don't see it that way...
you are correct for the most part. Kids are still kids. They still know very little. I do think they're coddled more than ever before though. That is probably more of a parent issue, but still...the end result is the end result.

It's one thing to talk to your parents to get advice about a situation, it's another to expect them to solve the situation with the coach themselves.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I love DjBMH. We agree on almost everything... basketball, anyway. That said, what you're seeking already exists. Start with Brian McCormick. He has books, Youtube videos, podcasts, thousands of tweets about how to do youth sports properly in America. And while there aren't many like him, he's not alone. But, seriously, start with him.
I love Brian McCormick. He should be 1000% more popular. I hope he gets better at promoting himself and getting more credibility. He has such great ideas, if he were only a former high level player or coach.
 

SydneySox

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This story is nothing more than a story, there's no help needed, just a 'really, asshole' moment with a new coach.

Cricket starts here in the next few weeks for summer. My boy is turning 7 mid-season and has been playing with a local large club for three years. Imagine with T-Ball that there was a step before it, where you just played the first year without picking up a bat and probably not wearing a glove until halfway through, for 5 year olds, to teach them the basics of fun team work and throwing, catching, listening to coaches etc. They do that in cricket, then eventually step it up towards games. Cricket's tough for kids because eventually when you're playing, you can get out for 1 run and that's your entire day. The skills stuff is fun and aimed at getting kids into the sport is the right thing, no worries there.

Anyway, he has handled the skills well and last year as a 5 turning 6 year old he was ready skill-wise to move into an adapted gameplay mode which would be something more similar to T-Ball, except it's usually only open to 8 year olds. He was too young, which was fair, and they said to leave it one year. So rather than another year of throwing and catching, we went off to play T-Ball which he adored (and I loved coaching, and they loved me coaching because unsurprisingly no parents down here know the rules of baseball let alone how to coach the game at all). But he's had his heart set on going back to cricket which all his friends play, plus the nearest t-ball club was an hour away so we're back. He signed up, the club approved it noting they'd said 'come back in a year, no worries' and the club captain remembered him. The only rules for this mode are relatively simple mechanics ones (not that it matters, but that you can bowl with a straight arm and keep it on the pitch) that would be somewhat similar to, say, suggesting you could graduate to the next level of T-Ball if you could handle catching a ball in the glove mostly. You don't actually have to be any good, it's still just kids fun cricket.

So yesterday I get an email - it's from the 'coach' parent of the team he's been allocated to. First contact. Copied with some amendments to take out some details -

"Hi Adam, I note your son's age and it's not appropriate he's playing this year. It's not fair on me as a coach or on his team-mates, who are all 7 turning 8, or like my son xxx 8 turning 9. I've asked the club to reallocate xxxx to the junior blaster program where he will learn the skills he needs to play at this level."

That's it.

Nice way to meet your new coach.

Everyone has warned me for years that the older they get the worse it gets. It's going to be a long summer.
 

SydneySox

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I resolved it, by rolling the guy and going back to the club. It's going to be an awesome summer, not awkward or unnecessarily stressful at all.
 

Tokyo Sox

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What do most 6 year olds who don't play t-ball do between the basic skills course and the adapted gameplay? Is the boy too skilled to play with kids his own age, and either way, related question, are you sure you're not "that parent"?

If you're that parent, you should just own it with new parent/coach: "Look mate he's way better than your kid was at his age, he'll be your starting third slip by November." You know, or something.
 

SydneySox

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It's a legit question for sure. In the first year of catching and throwing, there was another kid who also quickly outpaced the lessons and the two of them eventually just played their own game down the end. We (myself and his dad) both asked the club captain for the next option in the following season and he advised us both to wait the extra year for age reasons. WE went to T-ball, obviously my baseball dream and desire to coach it gave me that chance to get him playing it. But my mate's kid stayed with it for another year, almost - they eventually stopped going around christmas, the halfway point, as it was more of the same and his kid lost all interest. So, the answer is that most kids try to stick with it, or quit. Which is why the club captain had no problem putting my guy and my friend's son into the next league this year. They're not the only ones; the basic rules are there - bowl straight and with the right action.

I didn't bother adding it, but my friend received the same email from the new 'coach' as our little guys wanted to play together again and were placed on the same team by the club.

IF I was 'that' parent, this guy never would have known at the time of sending his email. Basically, I'm not in any way concerned with him theoretically calling to ask about the age of my guy or my friend's little guy. But he didn't bother with any of that.

It was his immediate announcement and swift decision to invalidate the kids' elevation despite the fact it had been vetted by the club and he didn't have the authority to do it anyway - and the fact it was his very first contact with my friend and I - that made for the exciting reading.

This wasn't a problem last year in T-Ball or in three seasons of soccer, btw. His coach in those sports is a fucking legend.
 

SydneySox

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Also, if I was that parent, I would totally point out that in his email he indicated his own boy is 9 and has been at this level going into his third season and it's a level kids should be well and truly out of after one year, so ... you know...

But I'm not. They don't even keep score.
 

Tokyo Sox

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But my mate's kid stayed with it for another year, almost - they eventually stopped going around christmas, the halfway point, as it was more of the same and his kid lost all interest. So, the answer is that most kids try to stick with it, or quit.
Yeah I was wondering if it was a maintaining interest thing. Makes sense.

Coachguy is definitely a penis, was just curious about the rest of it. Hopefully S can foul one off Coachguy's face. And in stupid cricket that would count for six runs, so win-win!
 

Heinie Wagner

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You should try saying something like "My kids played T-ball and has grown up watching American baseball, so this cricket stuff comes easy to him". I'm sure that would help.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Not to defend the coach's actions in the least, but do youth hockey referees ever get held accountable when they do a poor job?

My younger brother plays youth hockey and I've been to a few games and you can tell that the refs, some times, just call what they want, when they want, depending on their whims. When every hockey parent, on both sides, is getting angry, it tends to suggest that maybe the official is doing a shit job.

But fuck that coach; I hope he gets jail time.
 

BroodsSexton

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Coach had no business being out on the ice, but it kind of looks like the ref took the first swing/grabbed the coach.
 

Kliq

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Coach had no business being out on the ice, but it kind of looks like the ref took the first swing/grabbed the coach.
Allegedly, some of the other coaches who were on the bench said that the coach spit at the ref before the ref shoved him down.
 

moondog80

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Not to defend the coach's actions in the least, but do youth hockey referees ever get held accountable when they do a poor job?
Probably not, because they have a job that pretty much nobody else wants to do. I had to escort my 13 year old off of a baseball field last year because there was so much tension over the fact that he made some incorrect calls at the plate in a playoff game involving 9 and 10 year olds. They shouldn't have had a kid so young umping a game so "important", but as I said, nobody else wants to do it, so there he was. (It never really got that unsafe for him and was actually a good learning experience in an unfortunate kind of way.)

This is a problem everywhere. Try Googling "high school referee shortage".
 

Fred not Lynn

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Coach had no business being out on the ice, but it kind of looks like the ref took the first swing/grabbed the coach.
Not every rink has a clear, convienient path from the bench to the locker room other than across the ice. I am not familiar with this particular rink as it was built after I left the area - but it looks like that’s probably the case here...so once he was ejected, coach had nowhere else to go.

Ref did not react 100% correctly, but on the list of transgressions here that’s a tiny blip at the bottom. When doing sports at no time, no way, no how do you EVER make aggressive physical actions (and yeah, spitting counts) towards an official. NEVER, EVER...
 

CFB_Rules

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Not to defend the coach's actions in the least, but do youth hockey referees ever get held accountable when they do a poor job?

My younger brother plays youth hockey and I've been to a few games and you can tell that the refs, some times, just call what they want, when they want, depending on their whims. When every hockey parent, on both sides, is getting angry, it tends to suggest that maybe the official is doing a shit job.
Everyone in any profession has to start somewhere. For officials, it's youth leagues. Many of the officials working those games are doing it for the first time. They probably do suck! But the only way for them to get better is to see more plays and more fouls, and youth leagues have the least consequential plays in existence. Berating them only ensures that they never get better, because they won't try it again.

Many states (though Mass does not appear to be one) have statutes that equate assaulting a sports official with assaulting a police officer. In those states this coach could be staring down a felony charge.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Is there a reason the leagues don't pay for proper referees with good training, especially when you get out of the peewee, mite, etc. levels and into the more adolescent, "hey, this kid's probably going to play for his high school team and maybe beyond" level teams?
 

CFB_Rules

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Is there a reason the leagues don't pay for proper referees with good training, especially when you get out of the peewee, mite, etc. levels and into the more adolescent, "hey, this kid's probably going to play for his high school team and maybe beyond" level teams?
The pool of people who want to be an official is small. The good officials are already working those "High school and beyond" games, which leaves lesser officials for the lower games. Oftentimes the youth leagues actually pay MORE than the high schools when you consider that officials can often work multiple games...but there is a significant cost in terms of organization relative to an interscholastic contest that isn't worth the difference in dollars. In a high school game, you have game administrators, police, and coaches who all have experience. There are expectations for behavior from school employees and fans and there are repercussions when those expectations are not met.

In youth league games you have coaches charging onto the ice and fans confronting officials in the parking lot.

The second part comes down to lack of incentive. If you are a league coordinator, what's the point of having good officials? If they suck, everyone complains. If they are great....everyone still complains, and you spent more to get good ones.
 

Fred not Lynn

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Is there a reason the leagues don't pay for proper referees with good training, especially when you get out of the peewee, mite, etc. levels and into the more adolescent, "hey, this kid's probably going to play for his high school team and maybe beyond" level teams?
Well, because so many people are such dicks about dealing with officials not all that many people want to do it in the first place - and even with all the training in the world, it's an incredibly difficult job to do to the expectations of players, coaches, parents and fans.

Referees and umpires aren't as good as you want them to be because it's HARD. Sure it LOOKS easy from the stands and on TV. But it isn't.
 

santadevil

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I twas a good thing that coach had enough sense to pick up his hat and flip it around to show he was ready to square off

Neither looks good here, especially if the coach did spit at the ref
But man, the ref could have just backed up too when the coach flipped the hat around and came right at him
Give the guy 10 seconds to run chasing the ref, looking like an ass and cool off a bit

Either way, I hope that guy never coaches again and possibly gets some jail time as well
 

RIFan

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He's done with the organization. I'm sure USA Hockey will suspend him long enough to end his coaching career.
View: https://twitter.com/NHJrMonarchsYH/status/1237038138498965504?s=20


For the record, having coached hockey there are a number of refs where you just wonder why they are even involved. They have seemingly no regard for player safety and refuse to accept changes to the game designed to make it safer, particularly around head shots. They want old-time hockey to prevail with a bunch of 12 year olds. It's typically the guys that have been doing it for 25 years and are hard to move out. Those guys are fortunately a very small percentage of the overall refs. The big problem is the level of crap good refs have to take from coaches and parents that have no idea what the rules are and are looking to have the game called in their teams favor. People are beyond irrational on what they "see" on the ice. I'm still on a few mailing lists and the organizations have sent out letters basically pleading with parents to lay off the refs because games are running the risk of being cancelled because they can't get refs. I think USA Hockey is going to need to have organizations place spotters in the stands to monitor parent behavior. Start kicking parents out of the arenas and suspend them from games. Force forfeits when too many parent incidents pile up. There will be some ugly incidents for sure, but something needs to be done.
 

robssecondjob

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Well, because so many people are such dicks about dealing with officials not all that many people want to do it in the first place - and even with all the training in the world, it's an incredibly difficult job to do to the expectations of players, coaches, parents and fans.

Referees and umpires aren't as good as you want them to be because it's HARD. Sure it LOOKS easy from the stands and on TV. But it isn't.
One of the leagues I ref in (soccer) has a zero tolerance policy towards ref abuse. Most coaches get it, most parents do not. I have been followed to the parking lot twice in the last year by parents complaining about calls.

I got assigned to playoff game in the fall with one of those very same teams. Parent went right at me, verbally, before I even blew the whistle. Quickest ejection ever.
 

Humphrey

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I'm a soccer ref too, in Mass.

BAYS is your standard town travel team league. They too, have zero tolerance. Usually it's adhered to with a verbal warning here or there. Every once in a while a jerk goes further than that; in fact, it's probably why my daughter decided to "retire" after a couple years.

Club soccer, which is a level above travel, has similar rules but they vary from place to place. I make sure I watch my back (and my partners' backs) when I do these games...but most of the time there's no issue either.

I also do high school and it's more or less like club....however, you do have the option there to have someone who's giving you a hard time be removed from the premises. That doesn't get used much by anyone, fortunately.
 

CFB_Rules

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I also do high school and it's more or less like club....however, you do have the option there to have someone who's giving you a hard time be removed from the premises. That doesn't get used much by anyone, fortunately.
Believe it or not, you have that option everywhere. "The ball will not be put in play until that person is gone" works wonders in those leagues where the officials don't have jurisdiction to remove fans.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Not to defend the coach's actions in the least, but do youth hockey referees ever get held accountable when they do a poor job?

My younger brother plays youth hockey and I've been to a few games and you can tell that the refs, some times, just call what they want, when they want, depending on their whims. When every hockey parent, on both sides, is getting angry, it tends to suggest that maybe the official is doing a shit job.

But fuck that coach; I hope he gets jail time.
Not to excuse this sort of behavior at all, I agree on jail time, but I also agree that the lack of accountability of youth sports officials is a problem. Sometimes, the coaches are a problem, sometimes the parents are a problem but there are also times when the officials are the problem.

Source of frustration for me isn't that I don't get a call that I want or the other team gets calls, it's when referees fail to maintain an environment where kids can play basketball and learn how to get better.
 

Heinie Wagner

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Probably not, because they have a job that pretty much nobody else wants to do. I had to escort my 13 year old off of a baseball field last year because there was so much tension over the fact that he made some incorrect calls at the plate in a playoff game involving 9 and 10 year olds. They shouldn't have had a kid so young umping a game so "important", but as I said, nobody else wants to do it, so there he was. (It never really got that unsafe for him and was actually a good learning experience in an unfortunate kind of way.)

This is a problem everywhere. Try Googling "high school referee shortage".
That's crazy. 9&10 years olds. What was he getting paid? $25? The league should name an adult game coordinator who is reponsible for keeping parents in line. I thought that was a Little League rule, since I've filled that role a few times, maybe it's just our local LL?
 

Heinie Wagner

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Is there a reason the leagues don't pay for proper referees with good training, especially when you get out of the peewee, mite, etc. levels and into the more adolescent, "hey, this kid's probably going to play for his high school team and maybe beyond" level teams?
We pay $45/game for basketball and require officials to be board certified, they get there 5 minutes early, games last a little over and hours, you can do at least two. So $90 for about two and a half hours work. It's not the money, it's finding people who take pride in what they do. I've been involved with our travel hoops league for 10 years now. If you monitor them, talk to the guys who aren't putting in enough effort and get them to shape up or ship out, it gets a lot better, but it's constant effort and communication. Most clubs around here (central CT) are volunteer, and even when you get to AAU where many are making money, not many people are putting in that effort.

As a coach, the frustrating thing is that if you complain to another club or to the league, they blame the coaches or parents. No accountability for the officials who are usually the only ones in the place getting paid.
 

Heinie Wagner

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"For the record, having coached hockey there are a number of refs where you just wonder why they are even involved. They have seemingly no regard for player safety and refuse to accept changes to the game designed to make it safer"

BINGO! And when you get a coach who doesn't know or care about the rules (Very few hoops coaches have ever read an NFHS rulebook and even fewer parents have) and kids trying to do their best to please them, it can get ugly when the official isn't engaged.

For basketball, the shame is that youth games are not difficult to officiate if you get control early, control of the game, the coaches and the fans.
 

CFB_Rules

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We pay $45/game for basketball and require officials to be board certified, they get there 5 minutes early, games last a little over and hours, you can do at least two. So $90 for about two and a half hours work. It's not the money, it's finding people who take pride in what they do. I've been involved with our travel hoops league for 10 years now. If you monitor them, talk to the guys who aren't putting in enough effort and get them to shape up or ship out, it gets a lot better, but it's constant effort and communication. Most clubs around here (central CT) are volunteer, and even when you get to AAU where many are making money, not many people are putting in that effort.

As a coach, the frustrating thing is that if you complain to another club or to the league, they blame the coaches or parents. No accountability for the officials who are usually the only ones in the place getting paid.
What would accountability look like? Believe me assigners out there WISH they had the freedom to fire problem officials. The calculus comes does to this: You can have bad officials, or no officials.
 

Heinie Wagner

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What would accountability look like? Believe me assigners out there WISH they had the freedom to fire problem officials. The calculus comes does to this: You can have bad officials, or no officials.
We are very lucky that was definitely the case with our previous assigned who retired a few years ago. Tons of guy who were less than fully engaged to put it kindly. Our new assigner was my coach for a year in college where he also played (a long time ago). He knows a lot of officials. We get a good amount of varsity level referees for 4th-8th grade games and he has no problem talking to guys and telling them to step it up or he won't use them. He actually asks me (club President) and other coaches how his guys are doing. Our club has been pretty good about policing coaches and parents too and the gyms we use are pretty nice compared to a lot of places we visit, so officials like to referee here, despite our relatively remote, for CT, location.

An assigned who is involved, who gets there early and watches other games, talks to coaches and to board members and communicates with officials who could be doing better along with a board that is involved, keeps parents and coaches in line and finds decent gyms to officials like coming there. I'd say that's a big part of what accountability would look like.

If I try to talk to my counterparts from other towns, they'll either throw their hands up or roll their eyes.

Two more things. Our assigned uses Venmo and usually pays the same day, guys really like that. One ref who does a ton of games (who has done college games) made a remark to a Mom who was taking pictures about how nobody ever takes pictures of refs. A couple weeks later he showed me a poster collage of pictures she'd take of him and had printed poster size.

I'm not saying were in utopia here, there are weekends with tons of high school games (Hoop Hall tournament in Springfield for example) where we struggle to get guys and one guy might do 8 games or we may have an unknown or a guy just has a bad day, but we're putting in the effort to make every game a good experience and from what I see, most of our counterparts, who granted, are volunteers giving their time generously and freely, are mailing it in.
 

OfTheCarmen

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What would accountability look like? Believe me assigners out there WISH they had the freedom to fire problem officials. The calculus comes does to this: You can have bad officials, or no officials.
This was the message we got at the beginning of last years hockey season. CHC basically begging us not to yell at refs due to so many leaving and so many being new/inexperienced that we cannot afford to chase any more off. I coached U10 this past year and I was very disappointed in the officiating. I had a lot of kids playing full-ice, penalty hockey for the first time and having the rules enforced horrifically inconsistently was painful. To hear some of the stories from the other Squirt teams in my organization we had a few doozies:

Penalty for Slap Shot - Should be stoppage of play, face-off in offending player's zone
Penalty for Intentional Off-Sides - Should be stoppage of play, face-off in offending player's zone

Those are simple gross incorrect implementation of of rules. I had a similar slap shot issue where the ref moved the face-off to center ice and I tried to tell him it should be in the offensive zone. He waved me off dismissively, good times.

I was mostly looking to make sure my kids understood the rules and had to explain to them multiple times why something they saw the previous game was being handled differently.
 

CFB_Rules

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I would encourage any coach who is seeing poor officiating to step in and put on the stripes. They very well could do a better job, and kids deserve well officiated games. Every game being played is the most important game in the world to the participants.

Many coaches volunteer their time because they want to help the kids, but I think that a good official can provide a game that is played fairly and safely which is also important.

A final note: In my experience, coaches who have officiated their sport are better coaches.
 

Heinie Wagner

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I would encourage any coach who is seeing poor officiating to step in and put on the stripes. They very well could do a better job, and kids deserve well officiated games. Every game being played is the most important game in the world to the participants.

Many coaches volunteer their time because they want to help the kids, but I think that a good official can provide a game that is played fairly and safely which is also important.

A final note: In my experience, coaches who have officiated their sport are better coaches.
Totally agree. Spending some time on the other side is very valuable. I had a friend who coached in a small Little Leauge where every coach had to umpire a lower level game. I thought that was great.