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Save the Game!

Our choice is either to preserve this game or abuse it for wins as we train rapidly growing numbers of referees,  our newly joining players, and our eager but baffled parents. There isn’t another choice, we are either training to preserve it or allowing it to decay and fall away from the intent of the game.

We are choosing wrong, we are short changing our girls, we are short changing our sport. We may soon reap what we sow and it will be too late.

I watched several jv games at a tournament today and was so disappointed to see what was being coached. Wild swings that were called as they should be, were ridiculed by coaches rather than being used as learning opportunity of what not to do on the field. Coaches were yelling for girls to run into shooting space, shoot through the double team, and were told as they came off for a deserved yellow that they did nothing wrong, blame placed on the other team and the official.

I’m listening to coaches that don’t understand the rules, shooting space, legal checking and wondering how the girls will learn if the coach doesn’t take the time to learn themselves. If the new official doesn’t call a foul correctly it seems to be open season to abuse the rule for advantage.

A JV play day that was planned for fun end of the season play has instead a seemingly record number of injuries, coaches throwing hats, screaming, players crying from the pressure to win. What’s happening to us? Maybe its parent pressure, player pressure, ego, misguided good intentions, but the cause doesn’t matter anymore. All the matters is finding the solution.

We are coaching ourselves into helmets and pads, parents are encouraging the rough play from the stands and heckling refs for doing their job- keeping the game safe, and players are watching and learning that behavior. In a game with 6 yellow cards the parents are still shouting “get aggressive girls!”

I’m worried about the future of this sport, we have to gain control before the growing pains at the training middle school, JV and even Varsity levels catch up with us.

I’m watching the last game of the day, a team coached by former players and some lax enthusiastic coaches who clearly value the ROOTS of our game. There is control, coaches pulling players aside for rough play for learning lessons, and respect for the players and officials. They are fierce but fair, friendly and focused on the skills of the game.  There’s hope out there, it’s not too late -yet.

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