Category Archives: Girls

Benched because she started her Period…

She was in the 6th grade and it was summertime during the softball District All-Star Tournament.  The team had a game the night before and she had a fabulous game.  The coach told her she had the starting position in the outfield the next day.  This was a girl that had to work twice as hard as most of the girls to get to where she was as athletics did not come naturally.

After the game she ran into the bathroom only to find out her period had come for the very first time ever!  Somehow the coach, a great guy, with several young girls of his own, got wind of it.  The next night she had another game only this particular All-Star game she didn’t start.  This would normally have been fine except that she was told she would start and didn’t even get a chance to play, which was very abnormal.

After the game she asked the coach why he didn’t play her.  The coach looked at her and said, “Well I heard you started your period yesterday and I didn’t think you would be feeling like playing today.”  She said “I feel fine” and walked away, then found us and told us what he had said.  Talk about an intrusion into someone’s personal business.  An assumption made on a stereotype.  We later talked to the coach about the situation at a more appropriate time and he was very apologetic to both my daughter and to us for his stereotyping!

During those very delicate 11-12 year old All-Star years, a time when many girls become women, there should be a female on the coaching team or at the very least in the dugout with the girls for just this reason.

As for you dads and male coaches out there who coach girls ages 11-13; just know your players are going to become women during this time and YOU need to be prepared!  Don’t assume and treat these girls like they are sick puppies.  Instead, ask them how they feel, especially if you have reason to believe they are not up to playing.  They will tell you how they feel and you will be showing respect and courtesy towards your player.  After all, a key to youth sports is to build self-esteem and be supportive of your team players.

The First Time I approached a Coach

Now that we had been humiliated, reprimanded, and scolded by the coach from “Having a Tea Party on the Field”, here is what happened next…

As I sat on the field next to my daughter, I was trying to cool down from the internal inferno, keep calm, and plan out my talk I was going to have with the coach.  The coach didn’t allow my daughter to play the rest of the game, not even the minimum time set by the league, which was 10 minutes per half.  The coach had crossed the line and our daughter needed an advocate.  7 year old kids don’t need to be abused by coaches like she was.  In fact, no kid does.

Being new to youth sports, I had never approached a coach before and didn’t know what to do or the risks involved.  I knew the parents were wondering what my next move was going to be.  It seemed logical to use a three step approach; 1) bring up the issue in a calm way,  2) listen to coaches apology, and  3)  forgive and move on.  At least that way my kid would see me advocating for her and she would get an apology from the coach. I remember at the team meeting the coach said “If you have a problem, talk to me AFTER the game.”  So that is exactly what I did.

I waited until after the team had cleared out and then asked the coach two questions.  “Do you think my daughter had fun today?”  No answer. “I am confused as to why you think it is ok to talk to my daughter in such a disrespectful way?”  The coach was defensive in her body language and took no responsibility for her actions and just walked away without saying a word; no apology, no explanation.  I learned a hard lesson that day when it comes to approaching coaches.  Things don’t always go as you think they will go (in fact very rarely) and there may be some coach’s retaliation in the future.

The remainder of the season the coach let my seven year old play in the games less than any other player on the team…and yes my kid noticed (UGH – playing time – what a great future topic).  I thought to myself, “How much I hated youth sports and this is just the beginning!”

When my kid is being abused like that, I won’t sit and watch it happen, neither should you.  The kid certainly doesn’t know how to handle being talked to like that;  you need to step up to the plate for them.  You have to remember you only have control over half the situation.  You cannot control how the coach reacts to you, you can only control your part and how you handle it.   In hindsight, the coach looked like a fool the rest of the season, but my daughter and I walked off the field holding our heads up with integrity.  I did my part and that’s all I could do.  What goes around comes around, and it was a matter of time until it came back and knocked her right out of the coaching circuit.

How do you approach difficult coaches?  What techniques have you successfully (or unsuccessfully) used to approach a coach?  I would love to hear your own stories and any tips or tricks you can offer others!

No “Tea Parties” on the Field

It was my daughter’s very first year in recreational soccer and my first year as a youth sports mom.  You could cut the excitement in the air with a knife for both my daughter and I.  Even though I didn’t know much about the whole youth sports thing, I was excited to experience it and get involved.

While I thought it was kind of odd that our coach saw the opposition as the enemy, I brushed it off and figured it was just her way of getting a bunch of 7 year old girls excited to go out and play hard and have fun.

Three games into the season my daughter got to experience one of the highlights of youth sports, getting to play against five of the girls in her 2nd grade class.  She was so excited about the game! Half way through the first half, she and one of her classmates from the opposing team crashed into each other, knocking each other to the ground.  What we thought might have been a problem turned into smiles.

My kid reached over to help the other little girl up, as they continued to giggle.  They got up and both started laughing!  Admirable…when a kid helps another kid up don’t you think?  Ha!  Guess again.

The coach was furious and came unglued.  She immediately pulled my daughter out of the game and started screaming at her in front of all the parents and her teammates!  “You are not going to play another minute of this game young lady, what do you think you are doing out there, having a “tea party” with the enemy?  You just sit there and don’t say another word.”

I was livid as I watched my little girl cry.  My “mama bear” instincts started to come out, something you find happening frequently in youth sports.  Defying the coach’s rule to not approach the players during the game, I ran over, sat down next to my kid on the grass and put my arm around her in hopes of consoling her.  I could feel the flames shooting out of my ears!  I didn’t know what to do being new to the youth sports world (I’ll tell you what I actually did in my next blog post) – was this normal and acceptable behavior?  Not in my opinion! The other parents didn’t look at us but just stayed away – probably for fear she would pull their kid out.  No wonder some kids give up sports at such an early age – it’s just plain wrong!  We had lots to learn…

How can coaches get away with this kind of behavior?  Its not right.  In one of my next posts I will tell you how I handled this abusive coach. Have your kids been treated in such a disrespectful way…if so what did you do to handle the situation? Has anything like this ever happened to you and your kid or someone you know? How did you or they handle it?  What recommendations do you have for parents out there that will go through this type of abuse and situation?  Please share your stories or those of others you have seen in this situation!