I broadcast another high school varsity game on the radio. I got there early because I wanted to see the JV game. One team played lots of kids. They subbed in early in the first quarter.   At the 3 minute mark this coach subbed in 3 kids. By half time all the kids had played. The kids on the bench were engaged in the game and cheering on their team mates when they weren’t playing. They had fun.

The other coach did not sub until late in the first quarter. He only subbed in one kid. He was up yelling instructions for most of the game. They had brought a chair from their school, with their school colors, that was taller than the ones provided by the host school, and the yelling coach used it for timeouts. It was awkward to say the least.

If you have been following my program and blogs you know how I feel about constant instructions being yelled at the kids while they are playing. It does not work.  It is called bottle necking in Psychology. The kids have a hard time retaining the instructions because they are overwhelmed with data and can only process a little at a time in their brains while they are playing. (Parents this goes for you too!)Plus, you are telling the other coach what your team is doing wrong.

My broadcast location was on the floor in the middle of the gym directly across from the two teams. What I want to stress to you today is the last 5 kids on the losing team bench for both the JV and Varsity game. They were totally disinterested. Even if the coach needed them to play meaningful minutes they were not prepared to do so. What if a player got hurt? How about an academic problem? Why not play these kids?

 These kids needed to know math to play for their team. They had to divide the score, by the time left in the game, calculate this with the coaches’ ego in managing a game to win to see if they might get a chance to play.

 Next they had to then either root for their team to play poorly if they were losing, or want them to run up the score if they are winning. Neither trait is going to help these children later in life.

It was remarkable to me to see their negative body language in warm ups and sitting on the bench during the game. They knew they weren’t going to play. What was stunning to me was that neither the JV or Varsity coach on the LOSING team noticed these kids except when he yelled at them for something that was going on in the game while they were sitting. Relationships, the key component to successful coaching was missing.

One last note to give you a concrete example as to the cause and effect of this kind of coaching. One of the kids who did not play got into an argument with his mom after the varsity game was over. It was loud and he was very agitated. Whatever the problem, was, it was surely exasperated by the athlete not playing.