Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Coach Rage

Football NSW has sent an email to more than 1000 clubs after a torrent of complaints about abusive coaches reports the SMH.

"The latest call today was about a 45-year-old coach of an under 8s team who got down into the face of a child and yelled abuse at him and belittled him in front of his team mates until he broke down in tears. Why? Because he didn't kick the ball straight!!!!"

Michelle Hanley, member protection information officer at Football NSW (and prolific user of CAPITALS and EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!), said she sent the email to steer the game's focus back towards fun.

"What was to be gained by reducing this child to tears? AND, how does this help the child enjoy the game? I am ABSOLUTELY appalled at some of the things I am hearing about how the clubs chose to deal with these issues. Many think that asking the child to leave the club is the answer!!!"

Quite RIGHT Michelle!!!

Football NSW has 220,000 players, about 180,000 of them children. The president of Football NSW, Ian Holmes, said coach rage was a societal problem. What?

"We're trying to ensure that the win-win philosophy in everyday life does not filter down into junior sport."

I coach my son's U8 football team. Drilled into all us coaches is the message that winning is irrelevant and the taking part is all that counts. You try telling this to nine hyper-competitive boys who have just lost a closely fought 1-0 dogfight.

At any age having fun is all that matters, not just at this tender age. And winning and losing is a part of life. Once can't pretend it doesn't exist. The skill is in teaching the boys how to handle defeat with courage and how to celebrate winning with grace and dignity.

Michelle personifies the feminisation of boys' early years.