Make it or break it

Coaching has major impact on player’s enjoyment


In sports, there are a variety of aspects in the game. Players, practices, gameplans and coaches. What if I told you that there is really only one of those four aspects that can ruin a sport for a kid? Which one would you guess?

If you guessed the coach, then you would be right. Now I personally have had my fair share of coaches, some of them being great, some being adequate and some being just flat out horrible. I have always been one of those kids that tries to get along with the coaches and have a good time throughout the season. I know when there is a bad coach when not only I but the team as a whole isn’t able to do either.

I fell in love with the game of baseball at around 4 years old. It has been my passion for the past 13 years. Most of my coaches helped build me into the player I am today, and for them I am very grateful. But there have been coaches that I have had to play under that have almost put me on the verge of quitting the one thing I have always been passionate about. These are the coaches that have killed the sport for me. Going through that was easily one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever been through.

During those years under those coaches, I dreaded going to practices and games. I was always told day in and out that “hard work will get you on the field,” and yet, no matter how hard I worked in practice, staying after to get more swings in and take more ground balls, I wasn’t given the opportunity.

In 2016, The Odyssey ran an article titled “The Coach That Killed My Passion.” There was one major line in this article that stood out to me the most. This was when Madison Trout, the writer of the article, stated, “My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, “You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can’t play for me.” I haven’t had anything like that happen to me, but coming from an athlete’s perspective, hearing those words would’ve destroyed me.

Now, there is another aspect to bad coaching than just not getting playing time. Bad coaches have favorites and make it obvious that they do. Coaches showing favoritism brings all the other players down.

According to an article in The New York Times, 75% of children who start a sport by the ages of 6 or 7 will quit by or before the age of 15. Obviously, bad coaching isn’t the only reason for that high amount of kids quitting. But, if I had to put money on it, I would say a good amount of it is.

To all the coaches out there, my one message to you would be don’t make everything you do miserable for players. Don’t exclude kids that are trying their hardest. Don’t give kids false hope if you don’t mean it. Understand that the kids you are coaching are human. They are going to take in whatever you say to them, and each and every one of them is going to process it differently. Be more mindful of what you say and do.