Out of Bounds?
I’ve spent a lot of time watching kids play
sports. It was 16 years from the day my son Sam
stepped onto the ice for the first time as a Mite
hockey player to the day my stepdaughter, Amy,
played her last field hockey game for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
Often, I was also a coach, mostly in ice hockey,
but also in baseball, softball and soccer (the latter
I coached somewhat reluctantly because I knew
virtually nothing about the sport). When our kids
started playing high school sports, I went from
coach to spectator—and my wife, Susan, and I
attended countless games, matches and meets.
Through the years, I worked with and observed
scores of coaches, most of whom were good teachers
and role models. But I also saw many coaches who
should never have been given the job. Too many
had a win-at-any-cost attitude and spent more time
tearing down players than building them up.
One coach in particular clearly believed that telling players how awful they were would inspire them
to play better. No surprise, it didn’t work: All it did
was make the players feel bad about themselves and
grow to hate the sport.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t one of those parents
(or coaches) who believed that every player should
get a trophy or get equal playing time on travel and
high school teams. As a coach, I expected a lot from
my players, especially in terms of trying hard and
working together as a team. I, of course, liked it
when we won, but I measured our success more in
terms of how hard the players worked, how much
the team and the individual players improved, and,
yes, how much fun we had during the season.
Because youth sports and coaches play such a
central role in kids’ lives, we decided to devote our
cover story to the topic. In “Out of Bounds,” writer
Stacey Colino looks at the impact good and bad
coaches can have on kids.
Colino writes: “[T]he intensity and negativity of
some coaches raise a few worthwhile questions: Is
bad coaching turning kids off to sports? Is it affect-
ing their development in other ways? And when
you step back and look at the whole picture, are
some coaches doing more harm than good?” The
story begins on page 62.
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If you’re looking for a great way to spend
a late summer Saturday afternoon, I suggest you
sign up for the “Perfect Pairings” wine tasting tour
Sept. 13 on Bethesda Row. Participants will be able
to sample (and learn about) two wines at 10 different restaurants and stores—and keep their stomachs full with tasty appetizers at each stop. Bethesda
Magazine is once again a sponsor of the event. I
hope to see you there. For more information and to
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I hope you enjoy this issue of Bethesda Magazine.
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