I have written several blogs over the years about changes that ihave impacted coaching on all levels and, as you would expect, much of my opinion is based on an old-school outlook.
That being said, there are three main reasons coaches aren’t respected like they once were::
1. Parents. Parents are now much more their athletes friends and supporters than anything else. It all starts at home. When parents constantly doubt, question or challenge what a coach says, how can we expect players to respect those same coaches?
That doesn’t mean that coaches are always right. I’ve been wrong so many times I can’t count them all. But coaches are also not always wrong or to blame, either. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. If that middle ground is built on respect, then everyone wins.
2. Administrators. Athletic administrators almost always used to be former coaches who knew what it was like to be in the clubhouse, dugout or locker room. More and more, administrators are business people who want to treat athletics like a business.
We’ve all heard the old saying that the customer is always right. In the new world of athletics, the athlete and their parents are seen as the customers. Coaches are seen as the employees who we expect to keep the customer happy. Might be good for the bottom line, but it does undermine the effort of many coaches.
3. The absence of accountability. Young people are not used to being held accountable for many things anymore. When a coach tries to hold a player accountable for team rules or responsibilities, they are often met with resistance from the athlete and their family.
Old-school techniques like running laps or doing push-ups to punish a player for breaking team rules are seen as bullying or demeaning. Athletes should never be put in harm’s way, but they also need to be held to a standard to be a part of any team. When a coach can’t hold a player accountable, they have no authority!
Times have changed, no doubt. Some good, some bad and some, yet to be determined. What I can say without. doubt, it takes a special person to coach a team in this day and age.
Be careful what you wish for!!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.