YOUTH COACHING AND SPORTS IN A BAD LIGHT…

by Coach Henze

Below is comment I added to the end of a mid-season survey for our local youth football league. What are your thoughts?

On my son’s team this season, everything has been great! The coaches and families are very supportive, reasonable and respectful. My son, who is the smallest kid on the team and wasn’t sure about football a year ago, is learning and really having a good time and loves the game! So, kudos to our coaches, players and families.

However… I do need to say something about another team’s coaching staff. I spoke with our league director last night about Team 1’s coaches and one of the coaches players. Before the game, I had a couple of Team 1 parents come up to me and apologize before the game even started. They told me that their coaches were way over the top and that one of their players has had many penalties called on him this year for unsportsmanlike conduct. They said the kid has outbursts that are inappropriate for any field of play and someone may get hurt because of it. I took that in stride as I watched the game.

After watching the first 1/2, I noticed the Team 1’s coaching plan for this player. They, literally, lined up their smallest kid at nose-guard in order for him to have to engage (lineman rule for 4th grade football). They played the big kid at middle linebacker ALL game and until our coaches said something in the 2nd half, had him basically blitzing every play (against rules). He would line up like a receiver would and then simply bust a gap and absolutely “kill” one of our players. On a few of the plays, he made a couple of our players leave the game due to his actions. One kid kept coming in and saying this player was throwing and twisting him around during the play and on the ground (I witnessed this once). Our kid was about in tears each time he came off the field. I also witnessed this team 1 player blitz and take one of our blockers, pick him up into the air and “plant” him in the ground on a blitz. That was the play when I told our coach what was going on and he complained to the other coaches. After that, the player in question didn’t blitz every play anymore, but occasionally did.

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When we got down to the goal line at the end of the game for the possible tying touchdown, they moved this kid up to the line of scrimmage as a lineman, but still called him a linebacker who didn’t have to engage. When our coaches told the refs and the other coaches that is not ok, there was a shouting match.

I feel that I am a pretty level-headed dad. I coach baseball and love all sports. I want my kids, and all kids, to have fun and be safe. The staff you have allowed to coach with Team 1 puts that in jeopardy. I know at least two families from the Team 1 who are extremely embarrassed about what is happening. They choose to sit on the other team’s sideline so they don’t have to listen to the coaches. One of the mom’s I spoke to said her son doesn’t like going to practice or games anymore. I would say that is a big red flag…

I am hoping others are letting you know about this and I hope you decide to take some type of action. The players and families of our community expect and deserve better role models for our kids.

Basically, the guys running that team are giving the term “dad” and “coach” a bad name.

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