High school sports action is in full swing and there is a coach related issue that I feel needs to be addressed.
I recently covered a soccer game and the officiating crew was a little off their game. It’s a new year and they are trying to get back into the swing of things just like the coaches and players. About a quarter way through this game one of the team’s coaches was starting to mock the officials. His low opinion of the officiating crew was not being kept to himself or even to only his assistant. The coach was sharing this opinion with his players, who in turn, began to mimic their coach. It wasn’t long until the coaches and players were having a good laugh at the expense of the officials.
Officials are not assigned a game for the coaching staff’s or player’s amusement. They are not there to be ridiculed, bad mouthed, or disrespected in any manner. Most officials do this tough job because they enjoy the sport, the exercise they get, the camaraderie and the chance to help the athletes.
I believe that when you become a coach you are held to a higher standard. You are a role model and every action or nonaction is being watched. Coaches are teachers and should set a good example for the players in their charge. Players look up to their coaches and many times what the coach does, the players will mimic. When a coach disrespects the officials and the players witness this act or are included, the players might feel it is ok to also disrespect the officials.
In extreme cases players and coaches may feel like the officials are purposely penalizing their team. This can escalate to the point that the players take it upon themselves or are instructed by a coach to retaliate. Sometimes it is verbal but sometimes, as we have seen by recent events in the news, it turns physical.
Coaching is not an easy job and the pay is not reflective of the responsibility that is entailed. However, it is important that a coach teaches their players right from wrong and how to be upstanding men or women no matter what the pay is or the circumstances. If this isn’t possible, those in coaching capacities need to move on to other endeavours.