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Author Topic: Soccer: Going to ask for some feedback  (Read 2310 times)
Andrew
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« on: October 06, 2012, 01:39:33 PM »

Okay folks, I'm going to look for your feedback on this.  Long story ahead.

I coach 3 soccer teams for the local YMCA.  5-6, 7-8, and 9-10 age groups.  This year has been awful in terms of roughness by the players, and also an opposing coach stopping the game in the middle of a quarter to spend 5 minutes reshuffling his players because we had just scored a goal.  The referee allowed this to go on, despite my calls for "let's go!"

Today the issue was in the 5-6 league.  We were having a rough game; by that I mean a lot of shoving going on.  I had already called out one of my players, made him sit (so we were down 1) and gave him a talk about not pushing before sending him back in.  The worse offender was the best player on the other team, and she is so good that she does not need to shove.  She could easily play in the 7-8 league.  I was behind our goal when she ran about 5-7 yards and shoved my player who had just gotten the ball so hard that he went sprawling.  My response was full volume "Number 6 STOP!" and that was it.  Play stopped.

At the same time, I have at least one of my parents start yelling at the YMCA employee who was coaching the other team about getting the roughness under control.  I pass them, tell them "I've got it" and meet with the YMCA guy.  He is angry because I yelled.  Immediately, the little girl's father engages me and tells me not to yell at his daughter.  My response, quoted as close as possible:  "Sir, I did not curse or insult her, I only yelled stop.  She ran up to and shoved my player and it is not OK."  He reiterates his view, and I reiterate mine.  His next response is that we're at the YMCA now, but we'll be out in town after and that he'll fix me then.  "Very well" is what I told him.

The good thing is that was the last of her shoving, though I did sit another of my players for being too rough a little later.  Once you get a lot of pushing going on in a younger game, it's hard to get them to stop.  The YMCA employee reported me to the athletic director on the incident.  Now, I haven't heard from that gent yet, but I'm pretty annoyed about this because of the facts.  I yelled exactly "Number 6 STOP" when she ran up to and shoved my player like that.  The YMCA employee did not have the game under control.  I apply the same rules to my team, in fact I probably hold them to a higher standard, the other father is the one who wants to fight over his child shoving kids around and being told to stop, and I specifically spoke with the little girl at the end of the game as we shook hands that shoving is not a part of soccer, and that she is a fantastic player.  

My thought is this:  if roles were switched, I would have called my son off the field, and wouldn't have had any heartburn over another adult yelling at him to stop if he had just pushed another child like that.

2 weeks ago we had a very similar issue in a 7-8 game when an opposing player executed 3 sliding tackles against my players in less than 30 seconds.  He never touched the ball, instead either tripping or knocking down my kids every time.  The referee didn't call anything.  I run down the field, yelling "Number XX STOP!" and when the ref gives me that "what?" response I yell "Do we slide block?  Do we?"

By the way, same YMCA employee in each of those two events.

I will defend my reactions:  I did not curse or insult anyone.  I was loud, because the action needed to stop immediately.  Also, I should not have to correct the other team like that.  It's my responsibility to police my team and to teach them soccer, teamwork, and fair play.  The factor that keeps getting pushed by the YMCA is that these are young kids 5-6 and 7-8.

My teams parents all appear to be supportive.

I had a problem with my team wanting to slide tackle last week, after making two of them sit out and telling them why, no problems this week.  Correctly done sliding tackles are legal, however incorrectly done they can result in expulsion or a indirect kick at the minimum.  I will not allow them for 7-8 teams, or even my 9-10 teams because they require good coordination and ability to execute without possibly injuring another player.  I have seen twisted and broken ankles from those.

Please let me know your thoughts.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 12:24:43 PM by Andrew » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 02:28:36 PM »

The referees are the problem. They need to start calling alot more penalties till the kids get the message.
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 02:53:42 PM »

I think you kept your cool in a touchy situation and did the right thing.
You represented sportsmanship without resorting to violence-which in itself is setting a good example for the kids.

Fact is-some parents-when it comes to sports-all they care about is winning at all costs-but this is SPORT-not WAR-and their are rules in sport that HAVE to be followed-or consequenses will follow-as in LIFE-and isnt that supposed be the point of sport? Freindly compitition?

Me? I woulda beat his ass right there on the feild-'cause I'm an impulsive a***ole like that.
You did the right thing,Andrew.


Oh-did you run into this meathead shmuck later? Did he realize he was f#cking with a MARINE?  Buggedout
He likey have kept his mouth shut...!
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 03:12:08 PM »

My feedback:

What are the rules? Being a referee is a no win situation, but if the rules are not being correctly enforced, they need to be enforced for the benefit of all.

I think there also needs to be a meeting of all the parents whose kids are involved in YMCA soccer, so what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior by the kids can be hashed out. And if it is impossible to get the parents together, at least all the coaches should get together to come to some agreement as to what is acceptable and/or unacceptable behavior by their players. For example: the slide tackle may be a legal move, but it may be necessary to ban it for 10s and unders because of the risk of injury.

Then once some agreement is reached, some penalty needs to be agreed to for improper behavior. For example: this may include banning a player, a coach, a parent for a game, a season, whatever.

And good luck, Andrew, in resolving this problem, as it is nice to see an adult contributing his time for betterment of kids.


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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 03:47:49 PM »

I think you handled it well.  The father who wants to fight is just another in a long line of parents who sets the wrong example for his children.  He sound like the type of parent who will defend his children whether they are right or wrong rather than teaching them what is right.  Kids with parents like him start to feel entitled . . . like they can do anything they want because their parents will always take their side.  If he had a problem with you yelling for his daughter to stop, he could have taken the mature stance and just told you how he felt.  Instead, he needed to act like a tough guy and threaten you.  I don't see anything wrong with you trying to keep the games clean and teach the kids good sportsmanship.

 
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 10:11:23 PM »

At the end of the game the father of the girl came up to me and we talked.  He was calmer and it was polite and we're good.  I am uncertain what exactly happened between the event and the end of the game that changed his mind, but that was the end result.

I do understand they don't want me yelling at kids.  At face value, it sounds bad.  What is lost is that I was about 15 yards away (the 5-6 fields are small) when the push happened and I yelled to stop.  So, I was not right on top of a young child screaming at them.  I was a fair distance away.  However, when I go full volume I am LOUD and it carries.  There is definitely a difference in what they might be used to there and what I can do.

The soccer rules have been gone over with the parents.  It is hard to get them across to the kids, because they are learning.  It takes a lot of watching, adjusting, and addressing problems.  We have a big problem this season in that all of our YMCA sports employees, including the referees, are both young and very inexperienced.  When there are zero referee calls for fouls in a game, but I call in my players multiple times to address them about improper play, that's a worrisome trend.

Burg, you hit much of my thoughts directly on the head.  Wrong is wrong, and not holding our children to a standard is wrong.  I remember taking a handful of peanuts from a barrel in a store when I was young, probably 5 or 6.  When we got back to my father's truck and he figured out where the peanuts had come from he game me a good talking to.  We then walked back to the store, I returned the peanuts to the barrel, and apologized to the clerk.  That event has stuck with me through the years.  It was formative.  Dad didn't let it just slide, made sure I understood its importance, and suffered his own embarrassment to drive the point home.
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2012, 01:21:18 AM »

You definitely did the right thing Andrew.  People like that live to get a rise out of people.  It's tough to control your emotions in that kind of situation but when you do, you win and they lose.  They walk away feeling angry and confused because they didn't get the reaction they wanted from you.  Boo hoo.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2012, 02:21:33 AM »

Wow that sounds like a really fraught league.  Seems to me to be mainly a failure of administration/refereeing.

I coached young kids in basketball when I was a teenager and was a referee for a while and there's no escaping kids who do the wrong thing on the field/court or bad parents who shout and get way to into it, but it's how it's handled that is the key. 


As a coach I would always try and instill a sense of fair play, and most of the time the kids were great because ultimately they just wanted to have fun.

The parents were another issue though; people would always have issues with either the referee or the fact that I took their kid off and put them on the bench even though 'they were the best player on the team'.  I'd explain that every kid, no matter how terrible, will get equal time on the field, as much as humanly possible and that this as never going to change just because the parents thought so.  I made sure that the kids knew that when I benched them it wasn't because they were playing bad, but another person's turn to go on, so they generally understood even if they sometimes looked over at their parents who didn't agree.  Most of the time when they fouled it was just a mistake by the kids rather than malicious intent so you'd just tell them good defending techniques and hope they apply it.  Luckily I never had to bench someone from being too violent, but I have benched people who were getting frustrated so they could cool off before things got out of hand.


I also made sure the bench was cleared of anyone not on the team and for the most part parents didn't get in the way when the game was on, and when they did act up on occasion it didn't affect the team too much because the parents were separated from 'our area' and we could just ignore them and get on with the game.  It goes a long way to ensure good behaviour when the coach doesn't allow the bad apples be part of the 'inner circle' since I really have no control over what people say and do when the clock is ticking and I have a group of kids to look after.

There is always one a-hole who ruins it for the rest unfortunately. Sounds like you handled yours properly at least.



As a referee though, boy that was stressful at times.  I was no perfect referee, sure, but I always made a point of explaining the rules to the younger kids when they did something wrong.  I have kicked parents out for abusing me/other kids [much easier at a stadium than on a soccer field mind you] and if they wanted to argue I'd basically tell them the game wouldn't continue until they left.  This didn't happen often mind you, but sometimes you have to tell people to 'shut up' when they're just spouting nonsense and warn them to keep a lid on it.  I'm all for passionate barracking but there is a line.



Two main things that I'd say would help:

First is the referees need to start locking down on illegal play: there's always gray areas in the rules where you may not call something because it may not have looked like it, but shoving and pushing is pretty cut and dry when a kid falls over.  A game that has no fouls called is a badly refereed game and that breeds discontent in the coaches, parents and allows the kids to get away with it so they don't learn either. 

There's nothing wrong with calling a foul, getting the player over and telling them what they did wrong before starting play again.  This is less relevant for the older kids who just should know better but in such a young age bracket they're going to need alot of advice.  Coaches will be forced to either bench kids who are constantly fouling, or hopefully, teach them to play better by explaining that 'if you do this you will get a foul called against you'.  If the ref doesn't then call a foul, the kids will just keep getting away with it and not educate them at all.  A parent is also less likely to get angry if they know their kid did the wrong thing, whereas if nothing is called then they'll just get upset someone is targeting their kid.


So the first big thing is getting the ref's to actually do their damn jobs properly [harder than it sounds but come on, its a pretty simple concept]

A player and spectator code of conduct should be made if there isn't one already.  If there is one already, it needs to be distributed more readily and maybe even displayed at the field. 

I'm sure it's common sense, but the players code of conduct needs to make mention of playing in the 'spirit of fair play' or some such, and respecting your teammates and opponents.

The spectators one needs to make sure that everyone knows that abuse of either the referee or the players/coaches will not be tolerated.  This particular point will only work if the referees are doing their job mind you, but a zero tolerance to abusive behaviour, even if it was a bad call, will go a long way to making the playing environment less heated.  If parents know they can get away with yelling at everyone and anyone then they'll keep doing it.

[by the way, by abuse I mean actual abuse: I was always a very loud coach and would always make a point if I saw something happening on the court that shouldn't have been, so I think shouting can be good, but as long as it's respectful...]


Wrangling those kids are tough enough without just giving them free reign.  I'd say you did pretty much everything right and as a guy who no doubt knows how to handle himself and just wants to help the kids, you don't need to resort to mindless threats like others.  Pride is a funny thing, but some people will just argue even if they're in the wrong because they are frustrated and don't want to admit fault.  I usually let those off the cuff threats slide because of that fact, even if I think the person is a complete a-hole.  You can't stop those people from turning up [unless they're so bad they get banned] but at least by cutting down on the rubbish on the field, it's less likely to become an issue overall.


Oh I almost forgot: how can you just stop a game in the middle and reshuffle your teams?  That just sounds like chaos.  Maybe for the younger leagues there should be some kind of time out rule like in basketball so you can do that at a certain time, but have only a minute or so to do it in so it doesn't just drag on.  This may help the kids more as the one thing that's annoying about soccer is that you can't just take a second to explain things: it's always just 'go go go' which is great when watching the premier league, but it's a bit harder at grass-roots under 10s.  At least in basketball if things were getting out of hand I could just call a timeout and try and cool things off a bit.  I don't know if they'd allow it, but if that type of thing keeps happening it may be good to have that in the younger leagues just so at least there's an official rule about stopping play.





« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 02:26:13 AM by dean » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2012, 09:41:49 AM »

Dean, thank you for the good gouge.  It sounds like you have a lot of experience with both sides of coaching and refereeing.

We have a real problem with the referees right now, and it is due to their age and experience.  I also have had disagreements with them about handling calls, because they should not be calling it on a 7-8 year-old who is instinctively raising their arms to block the ball from hitting them in the face.

The main problem that the YMCA has is that I yelled.  The director's statement after the slide tackling incident was "You cannot be yelling."  My response is that I am not hurling insults, nor standing right over a player yelling at them.  I wanted to immediately stop play after witnessing multiple slide tackles that knocked down players.  He acknowledges that his sole problem is with my volume.  The same thing over the shove is what happened yesterday.  We'll see how this plays out.  I'm sure I will get a call Tuesday.

My plan of action when I get this call is to get changes made to the officiating, including the referees getting some training and guidance from the sports director.

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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2012, 06:05:00 PM »

Hi Andrew,

Can make quite a few comments.  Sorry if this seems sort of rambling, but it all ties in together (at least in my mind).

Following provided as food for thought.

(1) A friend of mine used to coach both little league soccer and baseball, and has given up on both.  Dealing with parents, other coaches and adults turned him off of being involved completely, and I have as well for similar reasons.

(2) He did some serious research into team participation by children and found that in many nations that produce long term successful soccer successes (at the pro level), kids don't really participate in "organized" sports like we do in America.  That is, the kids participate "freelance" as kids (on their own) until they are teens - until then they, do things in an unorganized way rather than "coached."

Now, this does not mean that having kids participate as teams in sports is bad or wrong, but it suggests that it is not NECESSARY for them to participate in structured teams/leagues to become successful at a given sport.  And as such, having them play on their own (backyard sports, for example) without butt-in coaching by parents that think they HAVE to be "number one" or what not seems more beneficial to the child.

(3) I gave up on having my children participate in a particular 'sport' activity because the coaching was lousy and very "competition" based...to the a degree that I will explain in detail later if you like.  The coaches even denied being so competitive and tried to mask it with more "honorable" coaching, but it was underlying EVERYTHING they did.  The age group was 7-11 or so.

(4) It took a LOT of soul searching and conversation with my friend to convince me that no matter what solutions I sought to specific "problems" in that coaching, the my overall goals were at odds with the coaching.

That is, when I thought we formed a "truce," so to speak, it was just temporary.  Those that want 7 - 10 years olds (or younger) to be that competitive, those parents that want  "Little Johnny" to always start or what have you...

WILL NEVER CHANGE.

That's my observation, and that of my friend who used to coach teams.

(5) There is a VERY interesting book (and other books based on it focusing on specific sports) called "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder"  by Richard Louv.

http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/

One of the interesting things about this book is that it spawns the notion that children participating INDEPENDENT activities are far more productive for them during formative years than being "led" in more formal activities and led by coaching.

That is, the thesis of this book (and others that use it as a springboard) is that children learn MORE from independent, unstructured time "playing" and working out things for themselves than they benefit from "organized, adult led" structured sports.

The adults involvement OFTEN ruins a given "little league" in most sports....

Again, I don't bring this up to suggest that participating in "team sports" is in itself a bad thing, but the goals for such activities by under 10 groups HAVE to be different than "winning" or other the goals of older participants.  

The point of bringing this up is that if the parents or the organization are not "on board" with alternative goals, the fight will never end.

(6) The YMCA, well, what can I say?  

The coach at the Y in the sport my son does (he's 7, but on a different team that competes against the Y) is a bona fide jerk and I have tried to get support from the larger organization to get him fired.  They don't seem to care.

Here's why.

The local Y hosts the once-a-year competition of all the local teams.  This sport has "heats" that range from "Under 6" to "Over 13," the latter of which goes through high school.

Last year, the Y team did not have any participants under 8, so they decided that rather than heats for "Under 6" and "7-8" there would just be "8 and Under."  Keep in mind that the other four teams had six and under participants, but the Y "Canceled" those heats.  They did allow the younger ones to participate in the "7-8."

So, we had 5 year olds competing against 8 year olds.  This was not fair at ALL, and flew against 4 out of 5 of the teams in the competition.

But, it gets worse.

Likewise, the Y team did not have participants in one of the intermediate age groups (10-12, I think), so combined essentially 11-19, rather than 11-12 and 13-18.  11 year olds against 18 year olds....

NONE of this "regrouping" was consistent with ANYTHING fitting in with Regionals or Nationals.  It simply boiled down to the Y coach manipulating the heat scheduling to benefit his team.  

And, they basically said, "Like it or lump it, you are at our location."

(7) My sister was VERY involved in coaching for Y teams in this sport years ago (not in the same town), and she was aghast at what was going on.

(8) It may be a small sampling, but the whole nature of how it was done and the fact that the local Y leadership did nothing to correct it (when confronted with it from the other coaches in the area), and now your experience (and other similar ones) has led me to completely re-evaluate the nature of the YMCA in contemporary times.

(9) I've had occasion to encounter the organization called "Positive Coaching Alliance" and push some organizations into modeling their coaching on the ideals presented therein.

Here are a couple of key documents that are well worth reading (about sailing, but generally applicable to other sports):

http://www.readoz.com/publication/read?i=1044381#page52&pg=52&onepagemode=true
http://www.readoz.com/publication/read?i=1045168#page40

http://www.optistuff.com/info/faq/instructions/An%20Open%20Letter%20to%20Every1.pdf
http://www.optistuff.com/info/faq/articles/What%20is%20a%20good%20sportsman.pdf
http://www.optistuff.com/info/faq/articles/Coaching%20letter_to_parent.pdf
http://www.optistuff.com/info/faq/articles/empowering_conversations_w_child.html

(10) Though both my children are involved in "organized" sports, they are not specifically team sports and their/our/their coaches' focus is on "self improvement" and big picture growth.  Their "competition" is with themselves, to improve, to grow and to exercise responsibility.

That is, we are VERY fortunate (and it's no accident) to have coaches for my children that are on board with our ideals, and these are summarized quite well in the PCA organizational information.

Contrary to what they SAY, this seems in direct contrast to the YMCA in practice, at least in "modern" times.

Final conclusion:

Andrew, I hate to say it, but I don't think your situation is going to improve.  I think the "cancerous" behavior, from the adults (other coaches, Y leaders, refs), is entrenched and so long as your goals as a coach oppose "win at all cost" (or other similar, selfish motivations), you will constantly be fighting similar battles.

Being in a similar situation a few months ago led me to withdraw both my children from an activity they enjoy and to pursue it on our own as something they can do for fun without the baggage of "formal coaching."  In our case, it boiled down to "hey, we enjoy this; we can do it on our own" and it need be nothing more complicated than that.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 12:36:03 PM by ulthar » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2012, 06:12:42 PM »

Oh, another point:

On the "yelling," while participating in on-the-water sailing coaching (I drove one of the "chase boats"), I was once criticized by a parent for "yelling."

Here's the situation:  The girl I was "yelling" at was about 50 yards away in a sail boat with the wind blowing.  I was in an outboard powered inflatable with the engine running.  The lady was in the other chase boat about 200 yards away (or a touch more).

I was "yelling" instructions to the girl who was having trouble getting her sail trimmed while I was heading in her direction.  The lady heard me "yelling" at her, and thought it was inappropriate.

Good grief.  Some people need to transfer into the real world.  It was obvious I was "yelling" to be heard and nothing more sinister than that.

Likewise, "yelling" to gain snap attention in a serious situation, like trying to prevent injury, is not only understandable but also probably REQUIRED.

Welcome to the Oprah-ization of America.  This stuff is just plain nuts.  Anyone that equates "yelling" in all circumstances with shouting insults at a child is likely going to get run over by life and raise children that get run over by life.

It's kinda sickening, really, to think people are this weak.
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2012, 06:49:56 PM »

The main problem that the YMCA has is that I yelled.  The director's statement after the slide tackling incident was "You cannot be yelling."  My response is that I am not hurling insults, nor standing right over a player yelling at them.  I wanted to immediately stop play after witnessing multiple slide tackles that knocked down players.  He acknowledges that his sole problem is with my volume.  The same thing over the shove is what happened yesterday.  We'll see how this plays out.  I'm sure I will get a call Tuesday.

Good grief. What kind of idiot doesn't know the difference between yelling and raising your voice to be heard? "Volume" is not bad in itself. Circumstances clearly warranted a louder voice. Some people just seem incapable of looking at things in their proper context. They don't want adults yelling at the kids, but they can't or won't make the distinction between someone hurling abuse and someone just speaking loudly for a valid reason. I suppose it's much easier to go with simplistic definitions that allow rules to be applied without using any judgement or taking any responsibility. Just scold anybody whose behavior remotely fits and point to the rule.

Come to think of it, the only people not doing that seem to be the referees, who should be.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 06:53:14 PM by AndyC » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2012, 07:46:42 PM »

Another link from PCA:

Honoring the Game (pdf warning)

The site also has some "working with parents" tools.

I would not participate with any parent or other coach that is not willing to pledge to play by "these rules."

You know, on a similar note, this is all related to why I abhor the "reply" and "challenge" rules in American Football (and why I vocally oppose similar garbage in Baseball).  In the old days, we all lived by the refs' calls.  Mistakes were made, but so what.  So long as a ref was not egregiously favoring one team, the miscalls tended to work out in the wash.

I remember watching a baseball post-season a few years ago, and it was shown (via the radar) that different plate umpires had very clearly different strike zones.  But who cares, so long as it's the same for both teams for any given ump?

The "winning is everything" mentality is bad enough in professional sports (gads, I still cannot get my mind around firing coaches for having a bad season or two), but when it permeates children's teams it is offensive.

"Winning is everything" can manifest itself as "my kid did not play enough," or "cheating is okay so long as you don't get caught" or any number of a host of other behaviors that have sadly become "acceptable."

Fortunately, not all coaches are like that.

One more:  Honoring the Game
« Last Edit: October 07, 2012, 07:49:51 PM by ulthar » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2012, 09:34:54 PM »

At the end of the game the father of the girl came up to me and we talked.  He was calmer and it was polite and we're good.  I am uncertain what exactly happened between the event and the end of the game that changed his mind, but that was the end result.

I do understand they don't want me yelling at kids.  At face value, it sounds bad.  What is lost is that I was about 15 yards away (the 5-6 fields are small) when the push happened and I yelled to stop.  So, I was not right on top of a young child screaming at them.  I was a fair distance away.  However, when I go full volume I am LOUD and it carries.  There is definitely a difference in what they might be used to there and what I can do.

The soccer rules have been gone over with the parents.  It is hard to get them across to the kids, because they are learning.  It takes a lot of watching, adjusting, and addressing problems.  We have a big problem this season in that all of our YMCA sports employees, including the referees, are both young and very inexperienced.  When there are zero referee calls for fouls in a game, but I call in my players multiple times to address them about improper play, that's a worrisome trend.

Burg, you hit much of my thoughts directly on the head.  Wrong is wrong, and not holding our children to a standard is wrong.  I remember taking a handful of peanuts from a barrel in a store when I was young, probably 5 or 6.  When we got back to my father's truck and he figured out where the peanuts had come from he game me a good talking to.  We then walked back to the store, I returned the peanuts to the barrel, and apologized to the clerk.  That event has stuck with me through the years.  It was formative.  Dad didn't let it just slide, made sure I understood its importance, and suffered his own embarrassment to drive the point home.
Andrew, people are often so politically correct or paranoid or spoiled and lazy or just plain lame that they may not too often live up to any standard.  I'm glad blowhards can be contrite since you had been "threatened".  I don't use that word lightly, but them tired spoiled arses might.  I've made plenty of mistakes, but my parents taught me values which I treasure, and they help me to recover.  We all must always strive toward something and be who we believe ourselves to be.  Am I a thief?  Am I a cheat?  Am I a fraud?  
I'm not.  I know you're not.  
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 12:49:11 AM »

Dean, thank you for the good gouge.  It sounds like you have a lot of experience with both sides of coaching and refereeing.

We have a real problem with the referees right now, and it is due to their age and experience.  I also have had disagreements with them about handling calls, because they should not be calling it on a 7-8 year-old who is instinctively raising their arms to block the ball from hitting them in the face.

The main problem that the YMCA has is that I yelled.  The director's statement after the slide tackling incident was "You cannot be yelling."  My response is that I am not hurling insults, nor standing right over a player yelling at them.  I wanted to immediately stop play after witnessing multiple slide tackles that knocked down players.  He acknowledges that his sole problem is with my volume.  The same thing over the shove is what happened yesterday.  We'll see how this plays out.  I'm sure I will get a call Tuesday.

My plan of action when I get this call is to get changes made to the officiating, including the referees getting some training and guidance from the sports director.



I suppose I should add that the youngest age bracket for teams in our league was 8-10.  I mostly took the 10-12/12-14 but did coach an 8-10 league one season.  Short version: they were quite young and didn't have the skill set to be 'good' by any stretch, save for a few wunderkids, but they were also old enough to understand structure and have officials.  When I'd referee those games we would be pretty lax with the rules unless something was really out of line and we would be more involved in the teaching aspect rather than the officiating aspect.  As a coach you would always temper your expectations because lets face it, at that age they're not going to be superstars, and the less pressure there is to achieve a result, the better it is for the kids who don't feel sad just because they lost.

I personally haven't had much experience with kids younger than that, but I imagine trying to organise anything 'official' without it being fraught at times is pretty difficult to wrangle.


I guess I suscribe to ulthar's idea up to a point: you can still have them participate in leagues maybe earlier than teenagers [I know I did and had a hell of a lot of fun when I was a kid] but it seems like there is an age where it works and an age where its just silly pushing rules on kids too young, and I have a gut feeling the 5-9 bracket means a more casual approach would be more appropriate. Let's face it, kids that young just want to run around and play most of the time and enforcing too many rules when they don't have the skill set just means you'll just have problems, especially with parents who don't make the distinction between 'play' and 'win'.


Mind you I'm not a parent, so who knows what I'll do if I ever have kids, and it's great that you want to help out, but unless things change at a 'how the sport is administered' level I don't see things becoming better.  Without preaching at you do do one thing or another, maybe it'd be better to just organise casual 'kick around' games at the park with friends until they're old enough to benefit from a more structured environment.



Oh and on another point, one thing I did as a coach which seemed to work with 8-10s was a reward system for people who either played well/improved or just showed good spirit, either at training or at the game.  Back then we had a program where they would get a free kids meal from McDonalds [it was a sponsorship thing I actually organised myself] and whilst nowadays that's probably not as good a reward, now that fast food and obesity is becoming an issue, a similar reward was a great way of getting the kids excited about doing well, regardless of the team's success as they felt like they were improving and would get a pat on the shoulder for it.  This put less pressure on success as a team, because lets face it, some of the time all those kids wanted was those damn 'participation reward' vouchers.   BounceGiggle
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