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Old 01-06-2019, 04:44 PM
 
3,533 posts, read 2,538,073 times
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I like to think I'm usually the one who doles out the advice but this situation has me perplexed and I'm seeking other's perspectives on what they might do with their child in a similar situation.

My son has played sports since he was 4 in the local leagues in our area. He's now just shy of 8 and plays on a local recreational flag football team (we pay $120/season to join). I typically either coach his teams or serve as an assistant coach. This season I chose not to be a head coach and the head coach who picked my son had his own assistants and so I'm on the sideline watching. No big deal. He's usually a pretty good player, never the best but never the worst.

My son is not one of the better players on this particular team. He tries hard but he's just a little slower and smaller than most of the kids on the team and just not as developed athletically yet. I am not one of these parents who believes his son is going to be a first round NFL draft pick or who lives vicariously through his kids. Having said that, the head coach IS that guy. this is a team made up of local 6 and 7 year olds and this head coach is very demanding and very vocal. Fine, again...not a big deal with me. I mention this to give you an idea of who I'm dealing with. He's a 30 year military veteran who screams a lot.....embarrassingly so during the games.....at players, his own assistant coaches and yes, even the referees. My son doesn't get much yelling because he doesn't play much (read on).

Anyway, the league has a rotational policy where the coaches are tasked with rotating the kids in as often as possible to play. Team has anywhere from 2-4 kids on the sideline at any given time. As a former coach myself this is something I always thought was important.....regardless of skill level. Let the kids play. This isn't a travel ball team, school-affiliated team or anything like that. In fact, the league doesn't even keep track of wins/losses after the games. Truly a for-fun, youth league.

The problem: my son is held out a lot and never plays defense. And I mean NEVER. We're 4 games into the season and he's seen exactly 3 snaps on the defensive side of the ball and that was mostly due to kids being hurt and having to check out for a play or two. On offense, he used to play center and at least get to hike the ball, which he did perfectly for a few games. Now, the coach has rotated him out of doing that and simply has him running straight for 5 steps while he runs plays for the other kids on the team (50% for his own son, of course). So essentially my son gets to run 5 steps for a few plays on offense and that's it, nothing more. No token handoffs at the end of blowout games, nothing. I'd say my son actually only plays maybe 30% of all of the snaps during the game.

I feel like this is a colossal waste of time. He's getting no better at football and, in fact, probably is getting worse. I practice with him as much as I can by playing catch, but otherwise he gets no action at all.

I am considering pulling him off of this team mid-season. I have spoken to the league heads who have let coach know that he needs to do a better job of rotating kids in during games and nothing has changed (not a surprise). I have zero desire to speak to this guy directly as I don't know that I can have a civil conversation with someone like this.

My son doesn't exactly enjoy going to the games or practices, but he doesn't hate it (yet). I don't want him to hate football or sports for that matter and I worry that if left as the status quo he might end up hating it.

Would you pull him off of the team or just let this play out for the 2nd half of the season? I doubt my son would really notice or care if the season suddenly ended so I'm not overly concerned about sending a message to him about being a quitter.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:47 PM
 
Location: here
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He's 8. It's not going to matter either way. I always think you should finish the season because it teaches the kid that commitment matters, and you finish what you start.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
40,378 posts, read 38,952,984 times
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I vote for letting him keep playing. Flag football is fun, and kids that age often don't even catch on to the nuances that adults notice.

Two of my three boys played tackle football, and one was an all-star, while the other was just so-so. He didn't get in that much, but he loved being part of the team. I did notice that with both boys we would have great years and we would have bad years, and that was often dependent on the coach's personality.

If the league isn't on him about rotating, then maybe next time look for another league where they manage things better. At this point you KNOW there's nothing you can do about the coach so you just need to sit back and relax as much as possible and follow your son's lead. Don't let him hear you grouse about the coach or the league etc.

It's a shame because flag football really is supposed to be ALL about fun. Hopefully next time will be better.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
1,759 posts, read 666,021 times
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And keep talking to the league heads about this. He shouldn't be doing this. You are probably not the only one with a problem with this coach but may be the only one who has complained. Not all parents are able to go to games and observe his behavior.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:17 PM
 
12,992 posts, read 20,113,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
He's 8. It's not going to matter either way. I always think you should finish the season because it teaches the kid that commitment matters, and you finish what you start.
That was always our rule too, if you sign up to play, you finish the season. However, we've dealt with our share of jerk coaches, and know playing under one can ruin the entire experience and turn kids off ever playing again.

Under the current circumstances, I would follow your son's lead. If and when he says he doesn't want to finish the season, I'd be ok with it. Rec sports should be both inclusive and fun.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
40,378 posts, read 38,952,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzie1213 View Post
And keep talking to the league heads about this. He shouldn't be doing this. You are probably not the only one with a problem with this coach but may be the only one who has complained. Not all parents are able to go to games and observe his behavior.
Yeah, that's what's really bad. The league should be all over this.

Like Mattie said, rec leagues are supposed to be about fun, but sometimes coaches use them like unofficial practices for their star players from school or travel teams. And it really spoils the experience for kids who aren't already good and are just trying.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Georgia
4,529 posts, read 3,869,968 times
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The question is: Is HE enjoying it? Or is he picking up your negativity?

Relax. Sit back and enjoy the games. Buy the kid an ice cream after the game is over. CHILL. You've already said he's 8 years old and not particularly athletic (not unusual at that age.) No one is keeping track of scores, etc. -- except, perhaps, you and a few others. :-)

I spent almost 10 years on a Discipline & Protest committee for a state-wide youth soccer association, and came to the conclusion that parents were, for the most part, nuts. :-) Especially when the kids got to the age of 10 or so. At that point, the kids starting sifting out into kids who have natural abilities and the kids who are just having fun and aren't interested in working any harder. Games would start getting a little more physical, and many parents would go berserk if their little angels experienced a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, screaming 'foul!' or 'red card!', to the point where parents ended up getting cited for their behavior, thrown out of games, suspended from attending, etc., etc. I'm not saying that you are like that -- but it's not unusual for parents of kids that age.

He may decide after this season that he doesn't want to keep playing football. If that's the case, then he may be interested in something else -- lacrosse, swimming, basketball . . . there are so many sports and activities available to kids these days.

I would strongly advise against taking him out before the season is over. You keep saying how laid back you are, but every other sentence screams how seriously you take this recreational activity. It's supposed to be FUN. It's supposed to help teach the kids the rudiments of football, give them experience working with a team, give them exercise -- it's not supposed to be a training ground for high school football stars. You've got to get some perspective on this. If he's not that good at it, maybe it's time for him to find an activity that he's more suited to and can be successful at. Meanwhile, "finish what he started", and stop worrying about it.
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Old 01-06-2019, 11:14 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
7,291 posts, read 8,462,695 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibbiekat View Post
He's 8. It's not going to matter either way. I always think you should finish the season because it teaches the kid that commitment matters, and you finish what you start.
This. Maybe next season try a different league if you can.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:31 PM
 
838 posts, read 613,598 times
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I'd talk to the coach directly.

"Hey, GI Joe. Feels like my son is spending too much time sitting on the bench. He's not as good as everybody else, but he's not going to get any better at this sitting on his ass. Put him in, some more, would you?"

Be willing to compromise with more practice time for your kid or something.

Joe's reasonable answer is probably going to be "Your kid sucks at football and winning more makes this more fun for the whole team, so I don't want your kid bringing everybody down."

So you can ask him to work on him more at practice, if he doesn't volunteer and resists playing him more. I assume they practice more than they play.

If talking to the coach goes sideways, you figure GI Joe has totally written your son off in his quest for glory, and he's not willing to make any changes to make it worth your (or your kid's) time, then I'd quit. Unless you already paid for the whole season, then I'd stick it out and occasionally push the coach again to at least work him more at practice to get at least something for your money.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
21,273 posts, read 22,421,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
That was always our rule too, if you sign up to play, you finish the season. However, we've dealt with our share of jerk coaches, and know playing under one can ruin the entire experience and turn kids off ever playing again.

Under the current circumstances, I would follow your son's lead. If and when he says he doesn't want to finish the season, I'd be ok with it. Rec sports should be both inclusive and fun.
Yep.
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