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The Press Box For June 28

By Staff | Jun 28, 2017

We are getting prepared for the upcoming 2017-18 high school sports seasons here in the Wetzel-Tyler County area and are already in the planning stages of printing our sports tabs and schedules. We have been looking at the schedules and planning out what games we will be attending.

There will be several coaching chances this coming school year and at least one new Athletic Director. We realize the summer has just begun but on the other hand every where we look there are kids involved in sports in anticipation of the upcoming seasons. Coaches have a certain amount of time during the summer that they’re allowed to work directly with their teams. Normally it’s been a three week period in June. However this year it has changed and coaches have been given some leave way in their scheduling of scrimmages, summer league play and practice time. Six free days have also been added, so when you count it all up their is about a month of legal time the WVSSAC allows coaches and athletes to be together as a team.

As the new season approaches it’s important to note that a lot of time is wasted in sports today in high school and middle schools solving problems between coaches, parents and athletes. There are successful ways to create good positive relationships between these parties. Everyone has to understand their role. As a sports writer I try to keep a good relationship with the coaches and A.D.’s, that’s where I get a lot of my information. I also like to have good communication with parents and athletes. Some times it’s difficult but you do the best you can.

The significance of this problem is coaches spend much of their coaching time solving off the field distractions. These distractions usually come in the form of relationships between the coach and the athlete, athlete and the parent, or coach and parent. The top five reasons children participate in sports are fun, learn new skills, become physically fit, competition, and meeting new friends. When sports are no longer fun athletes will no longer choose to participate. Willie Stargell who is a member of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was quoted as saying, “Nobody ever says work ball. They always say play ball.” To me that means having fun. If we can create good lines of communication and make sure coaches, parents, and athletes understand roles, sports can and will be a positive experience for everyone

Playing on a team is a privilege that comes with certain expectations. Both school and team rules and regulations must be adhered to in order to participate. Athletes, parents and coaches must remember that all participants are students first and a minimum academic requirement of 2.0 is to be met in order to participate in any extracurricular activities. The one basic rule that must be followed in all sports programs according to the Coach’s Playbook is athletes should never do anything that will bring embarrassment or an unfavorable view to their teammates, coaches, family, school, or community. Coaches want their teams remembered for how hard they competed, not how inappropriately they acted. Another concern that must be addressed is the privilege of playing time.

Playing time should be communicated to both parents and athletes. Coaches can strive to have each team member play in each game, however, playing time will be determined by the students skill, development, commitment, attitude, personal responsibility, game situation, and safety. Safety always being number one. I look forward each year to the new sports seasons and I always think back on past incidents when athletes careers have come to and end due to an injury. Practice safety first and never do anything to put yourself a teammate or opposing payer at risk. Play hard but practice safety and good sportsmanship.

Communication is something we do throughout our lifetimes, but receive very little formal training in how exactly to do it. Sports are not any different than any other facet of life when it comes to communication. If communication is unsuccessful between coaches, parents, and athletes the season will probably be unsuccessful too. Coaches must get to know their athletes and parents. If a coach can create a relationship with the athletes parents many problems can be solved before they occur. This is something we try to do in the newspaper, establish a line of communication between ourselves and the coaching staff. We also like to communicate with the athletes we cover, our email addresses are in the paper each week and we welcome comments and remarks which can effectively help in any situation. We don’t ever downgrade an athlete no matter what the situation. We believe in putting the interest of the athletes first, whether they are team members or individuals, we enjoy watching as they strive to improve and get better at their chosen sports.

In order to communicate effectively coaches must first be good listeners and give very direct straightforward messages that are high in information and useful for the parents. Policies must be consistent for all athletes so mixed messages are not conveyed. Communication both verbal and nonverbal should never have hidden agenda. Coaches never want to assume that the athlete or parent understands what they are trying to say. When speaking to people, speak clearly and always communicate with sincerity.

There are always rules and regulations that must be followed and should always be consistent for all sports in all seasons. Coaches have team expectations and guidelines to follow for resolving any disputes that may arise, parents should always know that things can only improve by effective communication. Coaches need to hear concerns directly and not from a third party.

One local coach I know does it this way, he set up a dispute solving plan that included the following four steps.

1.Athlete will meet with the coach to solve the problem.

2. Parent will set up an appointment with the coach to solve the problem.

3. Parent will set up a meeting with the Athletic Director and Coach to solve the problem.

4. Athletic Director will set up an appointment with the Principal, parent, coach, and athlete to solve the problem.

These are roles that coaches, parents, and athletes need to use in order to make the athletes experience in sports fun. The big picture tells us that the sports experience should be a positive time for parents, athletes, and coaches, but this takes each one doing their part. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.