Protect Your Kids...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Are you "win at all costs"?

I just got an e-mail from a retailer who uses a weekly tips news to keep his name in front of the customer. As long as you understand his intent, it's a good letter. But he just sent me one that I think is completely off-base. Per the newsletter:

"He's a win at all costs coach". Some coach has just been hit with the most damning curse. It has been my experience, that this curse is uttered by losers that are not willing to pay the price to win.

He goes on to say that those coaches are typically the best prepared and understand the rules so well that they end up beating everybody, thus the unpopularity.

I disagree.

> A "win at all cost" coach drives away less talented kids from the team by either ignoring or treating them as less-than-equal in hopes that they'll quit.
> A "win at all costs" coach manipulates the lineup (in accordance to league rules) so that the same lesser-developed kids are scheduled to play key positions after the drop-dead time rule they never end up playing there. Or, in a variation, plays them in out-of-the-way positions (even during blowouts) to minimize damage if they ever do get a chance to make a play (while this is a very valid strategy, recreation ball coaches should strive to let the kid at least have a chance to succeed in a position deemed "fun" by the kids on the team).

> A "win at all costs" coach centers practice around his better players, and ignores the ones previously-mentioned so they twist in the wind.

The result is that they lose interest in the game and don't sign up the next year. I guess some would call that "thinning the herd", right? That's what those same coaches here call it.

> A "win at all cost" coach pitches his 9 to 12 year old "hoss" (a bigger stronger kid) the maximum allowable innings, and then has him catch or play shortstop the remainder of the game...even though his throwing mechanics are off, and every throw inches him that much closer to arm problems when he matures.

> A "win at all costs" coach will knowingly allow the same kid to pitch the day or two after he pitched 60 pitches on another team simply to give his team a better chance to win...regardless of what's healthy for the kid.

And then a coach gets him in high school, and since he's developed a lifetime of incorrect muscle memory and perhaps a little hubris about his throwing prowess, he won't change mechanics because he's not used to it...and then his parents wonder why their "hoss" son has a sore elbow all the time. Guess who they blame?

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