If you have a young son or daughter that desires to play youth sports I highly suggest you watch the first 2 episodes of the Esquire network’s “Friday Night Tykes. If you want a guide to go by of what to look for (or in this case, what not to look for) in a coach this is a must see. After two hours of watching this show I sat disgusted at what I saw.
I’m not sure where to begin. Should I start with coaches leading 8-9 year old boys in a chant? Fuck the Rockets, Fuck the Rockets! Another tells his team he doesn’t care if his players make the other team cry. These coaches, who it’s really easy to see must have some real world authority problems of their own, should not be coaching kids of such a young age. Especially when it’s very apparent their will to win at all cost is a lot more important to them than the kids on their team. Coaches with tears in their eyes because they lost a youth football game and saying this is his life, all he wants to do is win, that his family suffers because he’s coaching. If this coach recognizes that his own life is perhaps a mess but can’t identify that maybe he needs to step down, he’s obviously going to be getting the divorce he’s heading for…not to mention it’s a real warning sign that he’s not the man for the job.
In two hours I saw kids puking, pushed in a boot camp style to keep going, giving off the impression that you‘re a loser if you can’t walk on all fours from one end of the field to the other. There’s also the resemblance of the NFL and NBA here. Coaches telling kids to “get paid”, “that’s money”. If you think that doesn’t rub off on these kids, wait. In the second episode a kid runs down the sidelines for what looks to be a TD, he’s about fifteen yards from the end zone and holds up one finger in the air to celebrate only to be caught at the five, then he’s flagged for excessive celebration, an unsportsmanlike penalty, the TD is negated and results in a penalty for fifteen yards. If a kid thinks this minor infraction is okay, what’s he thinking when he’s told FUCK THE ROCKETS? Remember, these kids are eight and nine years old.
Then we’ve got the parents, only one or two who I saw on air that had any sense, the rest are foul mouthed, pushy and have their priorities all out of whack and who think their kid is the next Marshawn Lynch or Frank Gore. At the end of the second episode one woman tells how she’s got things she’s going to say at the next game and if the opposing teams parents don’t like it they better keep their attorney’s on retainer. Yeah, real role models here. Imagine what we’re not seeing on camera. There was talk by one parent about scouts coming to watch kids play, kids at 8-9? Really? Let me guess, they saw dollar signs!!! Cha-ching! Johnny gonna buy me my bling.
Most of us here have all played sports at some level, have children that participate at the youth level and I’d be willing to bet none of us have come across a league loaded with coaches like this. I’m not saying there aren’t other’s like them out there somewhere, I’m sure there are, but a league that is solely geared by this bully mentality? I’d have to say they’re in the minority.
There’s been much discussion here about the “pussification” of our kids. That little Johnny or Janie needs to have their self-esteem nurtured, that’s why everyone in t-ball gets a trophy and is told they’re a “winner” and there aren’t many of us that really agree with this approach because if kids are always told they’re winners while growing up, when it comes time for that promotion and they don’t get it they’ll end up a mess because they’ve never learned to handle disappointment, that not everything is handed to you. This takes our argument and goes to the opposite extreme. Everyone here needs to work hard, that winning is everything, that pleasing the coaches desire to succeed and to win is more important than what’s best for the child and you’re kid will puke until he accomplishes his goal. Talk about the wrong execution of the right idea.
I’ve gone ahead and read some of the articles online reviewing this show, but waited until after I watched to do so. I wanted to see what the show really was about. What I read was just about uniform, no one supports how this league does business, and since the show aired the national organization that oversees youth football, USA Football, has invited these coaches and parents to their national conference. The hope is to educate them in how to coach these children properly. Personally, from what I witnessed, they may take them up on the offer, but I don’t see this group of coaches toning down their approach because an organization they’re not even affiliated with tells them they’re doing it wrong, that seems to be their motivation, to do the opposite of what the “cream puffs” do. Besides, any place I’ve lived coaches had background checks, they’ve had to take classes on coaching techniques, there seems to be none of this here and if there was they all failed but must have been the only people willing to take the job.
If you’ve seen this show I’d like your opinion, if you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you give it a look; you just might be shocked at what you see here from these coaches. I can only hope the pressure from outrage gets this show canceled. I’d hate to see all these young kids destroyed because the adults around them want their fifteen minutes of fame, but I can tell you, these parents aren’t any better than the coaches are mugging for the camera. The kids…they seemed to care less the crew was even there.