Run-Down Forums Forum Index Run-Down Forums

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Run-Down Forums Forum Index
Coaches Corner
Worst coaching experience
Post new topic   Reply to topic

Goto page 1, 2  Next
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Run-Down Forums Forum Index -> Coaches Corner
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 11:33 am    Post subject: Worst coaching experience Reply with quote

It looks like there is a pretty good chance my fourth male runner is off the team. Crying or Very sad He's a descent kid, tough, hard working, and competitive. He's been having problems with injuries, he's got one leg that's a little longer than another and won't get orthotics to fix the problem. (The university won't pay for them since it's a pre-exisiting condition, and he and his family either can't or won't buy them). But he'd been getting steadily healthier as the season went on. Last week on monday (at the high school x-c meet we hosted) I asked him how he was and he told me he was fine and that he was ready to run full speed again. Then on Tuesday he doesn't show up to practice. On wednesday I check with the team trainer and he tells me the kid is fine perfectly able to practice. The kid isn't at practice that day either. Finally I catch him wednesday evening and inform him that he needs to be at practice and that from here on out for every practice he's either late to or misses I'm suspending him a meet. He misses thursday (at which point I'm mad enough to scream). We travel friday (he wasn't planning on racing at OSU any way so I didn't see him). And he wasn't at practice on Monday.

Finally on monday evening the kid comes to my office and gives me a ton of excuses about why he doesn't want to come to practice. He always gets hurt (because he tries to run with the other guys when he isn't ready too), he doesn't feel he needs to be around the team, and a whole bunch more B^%& S!#@. I offer to let him run his own runs away from the team, but tell him he still needs to meet with us to stretch, receave news ect. He tries to say he won't, and I end to conversation with the sentence, "either start coming to practice or turn in your uniform!" Mad . At which time he leaves my office without a word.

This is a good kid who has enough talent to be a good D2 runner. He works his tail off when he shows up, and races as hard as anyone Thumbs Up . But he is stuborn, single minded, and often has a don't confuse me with the facts attitude. All of which have the potential to make him a solid distance runner if he's on the right track, unfortunatly the track he's on at the moment is not the right one Thumbs Down . As I've said before I like the kid, but as a coach I can't let a member of my team get away with this kind of behavior and his team mates are tired of trying to reach out to him and support me 100% (with the exception of the 800 runner who will now have to run the final two x-c meets to give us a full team).

Does anyone have an opinon? I'm doing what has to be done right :question:
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dan
Chief Pontificator
Chief Pontificator


Joined: 22 Mar 1999
Posts: 9334
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you're doing what needs to be done for the health of the team. I had a similar situation last year with a sprinter who was a member of the relay team. Things got a bit heated as a result right before conference, but we patched things up enough to move forward with at least a bit of an understanding, and he contributed to the team scoring in 2 events (just missed the final in a 3rd).

The part I'm not familiar with which may be a factor in your case is scholarship athletes and what their responsibility is to the team...

Dan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
coachd
Water Boy
Water Boy


Joined: 09 Sep 2002
Posts: 72
Location: Out west

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DG...think we had this discussion at OSU, but you have no choice. I made the same decision with our #4--he has to come to practice or get off the team and be a decent road racer by himself. You know, as well as I do, this attitude effects a team dynamic...it's hard enough to race fast and even harder if you don't care about the people you're racing with or don't think they are giving the effort you are day in and day out. Keep doing what you're doing and we'll see you at RMAC.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Conway
Olympic Medalist
Olympic Medalist


Joined: 25 Aug 2001
Posts: 3570
Location: Northen California

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my opinion you did the right thing DG ... I'm an old school person and don't like the attitude of most young athletes today ... Be that baseball, football, basketball or whatever ...

Young people today seem to be totally caught up in themselves .. Their own importance - even when theya have done nothing or very little ...

A team is just that ... A team ... And a team can't function well unless all componenets are there and functioning ... Even if some are hurt or reduced in their ability ... A Michael Jordan is at practice every day ... Even when he can't go full tilt ... He is there to inspire the others ... When I was in high school and college I suffered through severe hamstring pulls (once in HS and once in college) ... Each time I was told to be at practice ... Now when I was in high school it was so bad that for a couple of weeks all I could do was walk around the track ... So that is what I did .. My coach said that if I didn't show I was letting the team down ... I argued that I couldn't do anyone any good, all I could do was walk ... his response was that every day I would get better and the others would see that, and hopefully it would inspire them to work thorough their own pain and try to get better every day too !!!

That was a great learning experience ... Others could see hwo hurt I really was and that I was willing to work through the pain ... Others tried to step up to get more points during my absense ... And the whole thing helped the team get stronger ... I bonded a lot with the distance people during that time as I ended up doing some stuff with them (light running kind of stuff during their warm downs and what not) ...

Bottom line is that no one is bigger than the team ... And the team is there during good and bad times for each member ... And if eveyrone pulls together great things can happen ...

Conway
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the kid didn't show up to practice Sad

I was talking to the only other member of my men's team that has been injured at all (I've been lucky in that the team has stayed pretty darn healthy this year, knock on wood). And he told me that the reason this kid was missing practices was because he didn't want to race. And when I told him I'd suspend him for even being late that was motivation to miss practice. I guess in his own cunfused little mind he'd rather have me make him miss meets than try to talk me into letting him sit them out. Confused Which I wouldn't have been very receptive too. I believe strongly that athletes that are coming back from something and lack confidence need to compete. It makes it much easier to train when you can watch yourself improve in meets rather than too train for weeks on end without anything meaningful to show you that you are improving. It's sad really I've seen it before, an athlete is afraid of competing poorly so they don't compete and since they don't have any to give them confidence (which mainly comes from improving race performances) they become more and more scared until they finally can't handle it. I feel for them but at the same time, if there is anything I hate as much as lazyness, it's cowardess.

But I'm going to stick to my guns. If he wants to rejoin the team anytime soon we will have to have a long talk about comunicating honestly. And about why it is important to do as the coach says. In the mean time I am disappointed in both the athlete and myself for not handling things better. I am reminded of a quote from one of the Pre movies

"Experinceing a little self doubt Bill?"
"That Pre, is a constant."

I have never heard anyone make a statement about coaching that is more true. When you coach self doubt is a constant. At the moment even though I feel I've made the best decisions I could at the time I can't help but feel that there had to be a better way. Sad
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway that was a very helpful post. Thumbs Up I like the way you put injuries and individual athletes in realation to their effect on the team.

Of all the posts that I've read here that one might have more of an effect on the way I do things than all the others put together.
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Micah Ward
Olympic Medalist
Olympic Medalist


Joined: 08 May 2000
Posts: 2152
Location: Hot&humid, GA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway hits the nail on the head. (No surprise...I have strong suspicions that he is brilliant to start with.) Wink

Dan and Coachd are also right in backing your actions DG.

No individual player is more important than the team and if this guy can't understand that, then he will be more trouble than he is worth. It has been said that a supervisor spends 80% of their time dealing with the 10% of the employees who cause trouble. Don't get caught up in that mess. Let him go. Ward's worthless opinion.
_________________
"Find the level of intolerance you can tolerate and stay there." David Horton
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The young man called me up today after practice. He said he didn't mean to miss today, but that his grandmother was sick, so his dad had to take care of her and he had to work for his dad at the family business. He said he wanted to run and to get back with the team.

I've discussed this issue with the team captain. Who I think is often wiser on these kind of issues than I am. We both want to see the guy back on the team. But there have to be consequences. As I've said this isn't a bad kid, his only real flaw as the team captain put it is that he's horribly irresponsible. Right now I'm leaning towards a personal apology to the team as well as myself, suspending him for the next meet, and putting him on probation after that. This guy has lost all the respect of his teamates and most of mine. I just hope that I'm getting through to him and that he will learn a little responsibility. Because this is his last chance with me, he blows this one and he's going to as coachd put it, get off the team and go be a descent road racer by himself.
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dan
Chief Pontificator
Chief Pontificator


Joined: 22 Mar 1999
Posts: 9334
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's precisely why I shared my story above... Two weeks before conference, I told the guy in question I needed to have a talk with him. He didn't get back to me, skipped a few days of practice, and later said he figured it couldn't have been that important. When he next came to practice, I told him he wasn't running in the meet that weekend and that that was one of the things I wanted to talk to him about -- prove to me this week that you deserve to run Saturday. That didn't go over too well, and that's when things got heated between he and I, and I talked it over with the rest of the group. Over the next week, things were ironed out well enough that he was ready to join the team for conference and be as much of a positive influence on the team as possible (I'm probably the only coach who felt it was worth the risk at that point). Had we not had that talk and ultimatum, things probably would have ended much worse. I see a certain parallel with your situation...

Dan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like we were in very similar positions and made very similar decisions. Maybe we're more similar than either of us would like to admit... NNAAAAHHHHH Wink I only hope that my current cituation works out.

One thing I've noticed in my readings is that the authors always recommend just getting rid of anyone that messes up. But as the coach at Western State told me once "That's a lot easier to do when you've been coaching for a long time and have a few national titiles under your belt, than it is when your barely older than your athletes and don't even have an all conference runner yet." Gosh what I wouldn't do for about 25 years of coaching expierence and a few national titles right now Exclamation
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Conway
Olympic Medalist
Olympic Medalist


Joined: 25 Aug 2001
Posts: 3570
Location: Northen California

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're doing the right thing .... The various authors aside ... Sure you can just dump the kid, but who have you helped ??? No one ... Part o the job of a coach (at least in my opinion) is to teach ... And not just about sport ... My best coaches taught me things ... And I was fortunate to have mostly good coaches !!!!!

Sport is a microcosm of life ... How you are handling this will someday lead to this young man telling a story like some of us have told here ... Then you know you had impact !!!! Just like when you refer to lessons learned from Coachd Wink ... When a story follows you know you did the right thing Thumbs Up

Conway
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dan
Chief Pontificator
Chief Pontificator


Joined: 22 Mar 1999
Posts: 9334
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Cutting someone loose without presenting an avenue for a positive outcome does no one any good. It would be better to only recruit angels in that case... If the athlete turns down your attempt at help, well, you've at least done what you can to be a positive influence.

Dan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Distance_Guru
World Class
World Class


Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Posts: 1280
Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2002 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well after some false starts, some extra drama and a good bit of soul searching it appears that all these loose ends have been tied up. As I've said after confering with the team captain I'd decided to let the kid back on the team after sitting out one meet, apologizing to the team and going on probation. Well we met before practice earlier this week I told him the terms and he said he couldn't aplologize to the team. Which makes me rather annoyed. Later that day I find a note on my desk from him saying he would apologize and that after thinking about it he really wanted to run. It took me a couple of days of not answering the messages he left on my voice mail to calm down enough to even talk with him. After all when the team is asking what's going on and you tell them things are going to get ironed out and then it doesn't happen it makes me look bead Mad. Finally I decide to go with a apology to the team, probation and sitting out the remainder of the cross country season. I can't decide if was too soft or not. But as I've said all along this is a good kid and he was so releived that I didn't kick him off the team for good I doubt I'll have any problems from him for a while.
_________________
Time is the fire in which we burn
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Micah Ward
Olympic Medalist
Olympic Medalist


Joined: 08 May 2000
Posts: 2152
Location: Hot&humid, GA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2002 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DG, you have done right. This guy sounds like he needs to grow up a good bit. If this doesn't do the trick then there is nothing more you can do for him. Good luck.
_________________
"Find the level of intolerance you can tolerate and stay there." David Horton
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Conway
Olympic Medalist
Olympic Medalist


Joined: 25 Aug 2001
Posts: 3570
Location: Northen California

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2002 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed ... After next years championship he will be glad you did what you did .... Thumbs Up

Conway
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Run-Down Forums Forum Index -> Coaches Corner All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group