Caution: Coaching strategy can suppress student sign-up

Paxton Garbel , Staff Writer

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had an immense passion for a sport but the coaches make you want to never play again? This is a common problem among high school students.
The problems include things such as favoritism over talent, inexperience in coaching at that level, or demanding respect but not giving it back.
A study published in 2015 by George Washington University found that the main reason students quit sports is they don’t feel as if they are having fun anymore.
The students in the study defined the top three components of fun as “trying their best, being treated respectfully by coaches, parents and teammates, and getting playing time.” These don’t seem like an unreasonable expectation for someone playing sports at the high school level.
Believe it or not, winning ranked number 48, indicating that a team can lose and still have fun.
Not surprisingly, the study listed “respect and encouragement” as the number one quality possessed by someone they see as a good coach.
Personally, I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys being disrespected instead of corrected. I understand that sometimes coaches have to get on to a player to get their point across. This is something that every athlete has gone through and is often called constructive criticism.
Yet, there is a fine line between fixing an error and breaking someone down to the point that they give up. I was recently watching a professional volleyball game, and I noticed that they too are making common mistakes that high school players make, but not once did I see the coaches throw a fit. Instead, you see the coaches correcting and encouraging them to do better next time.
So, why are high school coaches losing their temper when their players make a similar error? It stands to reason that if the pros mess up, so will students.
To prevent students from leaving a sport, coaches need to build a relationship with their players and show that they are there because they care about the students involved, not just to have a little extra money coming in. Ultimately, I find that if we don’t change how student-athletes are coached then there won’t be any students to coach.