I recently attended a conference for youth sport coaches and professionals. As someone who has coached a variety of sports, it was a great event where coaches and professionals shared a variety of ideals and concerns. One concern seemed to be haunting many of the coaches: Quitters.
One of the hottest topics at the conference was "Kids who quit the team while the season is in full swing". A football coach with over 18 years experience was the first to bring up this fast growing phenomenon in youth sports. He opened up the floor with "After 18 years of coaching, I am more than disappointed in families these days", he continues to say "In the past two years I have had up to 9 kids leave a team mid-season, all with reasons such as ~ My son doesn't like the sport, Its too much, Or my kids deserves more playing time. Has anyone else here notice this to be a growing problem?". Much to everyone's surprise, all the coaches raised their hands (include myself).
It opened up a conversation that never really ended by wrap up of the convention. Coaches from across the Western States all expressed growing concern about "quitters" joining their teams. Reality is, with any sport coaches are going to have kids who are not happy with their play time on the field or overall not happy with the sport program. But like most coaches mentioned at the convention is in the past these kids still completed the season, because teams are not just about that one person. When you quit a team before the season is over, you hurt the WHOLE TEAM. Even if you do not like your coach, its just not enough reason to abandon your team, your not hurting the organization as much as you are hurting the team members who believed that you cared as much about them as they do about you.
In the end most of the coaches agreed that this is a growing "problem" in the world of competition sports. Too often parents allow their kids to "give up" creating a child who will ultimately struggle with completing other task in school or work. As a parent I never allow my kids to quit a team, even when I have TRULY Disliked the organization or coaches. When we find ourselves dreading the thought of practice or competition, we just remind ourselves that our child is finishing the season because a commitment was made and it is not the Teams (the other kids) fault that we (or our child) is not happy. Understanding and following through a commitment is very important to us and to most of the coaches we met this past week.
Since the conference, the discussion about "Quitters" was carried over to an online forum where many of us share ideals and concerns. Below check out what other coaches and parents are saying about the impact quitting has on other committed children:
These are not post by our organization, we are merely sharing how the conversation about quitting is being discussed by parents and coaches alike.
Parent: My husband insists that our son play basketball, but he really doesn't like it at all. I've asked my son why and he says that he would rather be playing music. My husband says that he cannot quit playing because he has already started and letting him quit now would only make him think he can quit things whenever they get hard. I don't think that is true. I know that I really resent my parents for forcing me to play sports. What do you think should I continue making him play or should I try to convince my husband that he should quit?
Coach: I have been coaching an Level 4 Cheer Team for the last 7 years. In the past 2 years I have had no less than 3 kids quit right before a large competition. Last year, two girls quit just a month before Worlds. These kids had key roles in our stunts and without them we were unable to rework the choreography and the whole team suffered because we had to cancel our trip from Arizona to Florida. This after all the parents had already paid. As you can imagine, parents were extremely angry learning that the team could not compete and they would not be getting refunds for the Florida trip. This resulted in our gym losing more than half our team. The members who stayed understood that we had no control over the choices made by other team members and that we did all we could to adjust choreography, but anyone who knows cheer knows that right before Worlds or any other major competition your choreography is set and there is close to no room for quitters. What do other coaches do to avoid having to cancel major competitions? Do other gyms prepare for members to quit? In the first 5 years of my coaching, we never had a team member quit, I just don't know what to do?
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