After a season of frustration on a girl’s premier soccer team I decided to go ahead and fill out the infamous coache’s evaluation form. Little did I know this would be the very last one I would fill out – EVER!!!
Everyone was given a form and it was supposed to be turned into the team manager. I always opted out of the evaluation process because I would rather just talk to the coach if I had an issue. But this coach was a train wreck! The league hired him because he had a name in the sports industry, or at least his family did. This premier team was totally out of control and these girls were faced with a selfish husband and wife coaching team with their daughter being on the team. It was wrought with favoritism, jealousy, threats, chaos, drunkenness, chaos, lying, and the list could go on.
Of course, all the parents were so afraid to speak up for fear of their kids getting cut. Yes, as parents, we live in fear of the coaches’ power to cut our kid from the team. It’s exhausting! So we try and play the game the right way. We use the form to say all the nice things we can about the coach, knowing this is the “safest” way to keep your kid from any retribution from a coach. And should the day come when their buddy in the front office gets a hold of the confidential forms and decides to share them with your coach…well, your kid could be done if you don’t say great things! Do you think they can’t decipher who wrote it, even though your name is not on it? Absolutely…It happens all the time in youth sports, I am just an example of another statistic!
I thought very carefully about the form, trying to dig deep and find a couple positives for every negative, which was hard to do with this coaching duo. I was feeling so much pressure from the parents to fill out the form, much more than in past years when we didn’t have this coach. I chalked the pressure up to the fact that my daughter was one of four girls singled out and picked on, criticized, and abused all year long. So, I should be the one saying something about it, after all, I am my daughter’s advocate. I gave my form to the manager and headed home. As soon as I got home panic set in. What if I didn’t sugar coat it enough! Maybe I should have gone with 3 positives for every negative. What if he really did know it was us writing this? I quickly called the team manager and she was kind enough to pull it out and allow me to give her another one the next day. I quickly revised the form, reducing the list of negatives downward and the number of positives went up. I chose not to explain the problem areas in as much detail, leaving them much more vague. I felt better about the delivery on the form while still keeping my focus and intent on making it a better place for my daughter. It wasn’t “candy coated,” just a softer delivery with some more general positive comments.
A week later the coach calls a mandatory team meeting with the parents. Tryouts were the following weekend. The coach says, “I just want everyone to know there will be very few changes in the roster, maybe just a girl or two, who may decide to switch clubs but nothing major. I had never been in a meeting with so many parental suck-ups…it was making my stomach turn! Knowing how conniving and dishonest the coach was, every single person felt like it may be there kid that is the one or two being forced to switch soccer clubs—the one to be cut in other words. During the meeting the coach was not friendly, in fact, he was quite defensive the entire meeting.
Then the coach started in on his agenda. Point one, point two, point three, and the list went on – he was addressing every single item I had talked about in my form! Nothing was added, nothing deleted, only the topics I addressed in my evaluation form. The coach wouldn’t even look at us. We knew he was speaking directly to us. Every single concern we had was valid and supported by other parents, if not formally. The other parents all knew their kids were being abused but the almighty “Fear” of having their daughter cut so they kept their tail between their legs. I was glad to have the issues addressed and didn’t really have any fear my daughter might be one of the girls that would be cut since she was one of only 18 girls in the nation to make the “All National Team” that year.
But once again, I was wrong. You guessed it, our daughter was one of only two cut from the team. What good are these coaches evaluation forms if the organization uses them against us? The “Good Ole Boys Club” they call it in Premier soccer. I will NEVER fill out another coach’s evaluation form! Nothing is ever anonymous or confidential when it comes to Youth Sports. So a word to the wise…be cautious. Understand the worst that can happen and how strongly you feel about the consequences that can happen. Coaches have egos the size of Texas so just know you are treading on thin ice.
If anyone has gone through this and been successful giving input, please share your success with us – we can all learn and hopefully move away from being afraid if we comment. If we’re afraid of being our kids advocate in this situation, what does our kid think of us? Even if the worst comes to happen, at least your kid knows you were in their corner and at the end of the day, that is what I felt, and still do, was most important. Your kid will grow out of youth sports, but they won’t grow out of knowing what you did or didn’t do for them.