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18 Feb 2003

Am I overprotective of teen son ?
Hi all

My son (14 years old) joined a new soccer team today. His previous coach left and he they have been given a new one.

During the first meeting the coach asked all parents to go away as they shouldn't hear what he was going to say. As we were walking away - we could hear him from way back anyway - he started screaming and swearing at the boys.

There is two things I don't understand :

a) The boys hadn't even met him and hadn't done anything wrong yet - is this the way to gain respect from your coach? I can understand that a lot of discipline is required but surely they should also respect the coach. And discipline after a transgression I can understand but before they even start ?

b) My main problem is that I took 5 of the boys home afterwards and not one of them was upset by his behaviour. I did not find it acceptable and not wanting to force my opinion on them asked them what they thought when he screamed at them. "oh he is grumpy but it is just like school - most of our teachers are like that" they replied. Are our children getting so used to being screamed at and sworn at that it doesn't even affect them anymore ? And we as parents still wonder why teenagers don't listen - they have switched off!

I have never had to resort to swearing at my children to get them to perform or behave. And this is supposed to be a recreational sport (healthy and fun)! The main purpose of sending him besides his own enjoyment is to learn team spirit, leadership skills (he is the captain) and how to work together as a team.

Am I just being overprotective or is his behaviour acceptable as the coach.

Answer 415 views

01 Jan 0001

Wendy, I whole-heartedly agree with your point of view. A coach who is deluded enough to think he can gain respect by screaming and swearing a kids, isn't any good as a coach, and isn't fit to be near kids. Maybe he's watched too many of those dreadful and repetitive Hollywood movies where some dumb coach screams and performs, and then the team wins. Personally, I'd think someone so cocky and lacking in actual training talent, who indulges in verbal abuse, should not be employed to work with kids. Maybe he has a grudge that he can't get a job with adult teams, as adults would be able to put him in his place.
Similarly, teachers who engage in such abusive showing-off and powerplay, should be dismissed, and replaced by folks actually capable of teaching.
And thanks for raising a perfectly brilliant point --- if the kids get screamed at an abused at school, not only will they be likely to have "switched off" by the time they get home, but they will learn a very dangerous lesson --- that abusive and violent behaviour is condoned ( so long as it is done by a more powerful person, like a teacher, to a less powerful person, like a student ) ; and that what is called "discipline" is arbitrary and essentially unfair, so they must endure it but that they will see no grounds for respecting it. Such lessons last long ater they've forgotten the geography or algebra they were formally taught.
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