Getting Fired About PT is So Wrong!

In the past two weeks, two friends of Pro Shot were fired from their coaching jobs (one was at a New Jersey High School and one was at a NAIA College). The reason, “Parents were not happy with playing time.”

This is very disturbing and we are starting to see this unfortunately quite often in sports. We have always believed that playing time is a CD which stands for coach’s decision. It is the right of a coach to play whomever he or she wishes.

So why are coaches starting to get fired for playing time? It really starts with the parent. We live in the age of entitlement. So many athletes believe they are entitled. Where does this notion come from? We believe it starts in the home.

No one is entitled to playing time. You earn it. Parents are not in practice every day. They don’t know what actually takes place in practice. All they know is if their child does not play, revenge may be the next option.

We have noticed there has been a change in the way many parents look at basketball. When I first started coaching in the early 80’s, the belief was basketball and sports in general helped you to understand adversity. I grew up on the adage, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Basketball also helped you develop a work-ethic. There was a one-time belief that the best players were that way because they worked at their skills. There was a belief that you learned from failure (remember the Michael Jordan ad on failure) and that failure would help you to eventually succeed.

In the old days (I know it sounds cliché), playing time was not a right. It was something you worked at it and if you didn’t play, the parents would say, “You need to work harder.”

Recently I was talking to a head boys varsity coach in Wisconsin who remarked, “You know a problem I see is that the kid gets in the car after practice and the first thing that often comes out of a parents mouth is, “Did you have fun?”

We have noticed this as well. When I was coaching, practices were hard, intense and a learning experience. And while I tried to have variety in practices and would crack a few jokes here and there, I don’t believe practices were “fun.” I always believed fun was after practices/games and the team get-togethers and bonding experiences. Fun was being successful and working toward a goal.

There are many parents who believe sports should be fun throughout each practice and game and if little Johnny or Susie isn’t having fun, then there is something wrong with that coach.

Lastly, any Athletic Director who fires a coach based on playing time, should be immediately fired as well. Too many AD’s are CYA (Cover Your Ass) people. They care more about pleasing the parent than caring about what is actually right.

Middle school, high school and collegiate coaches should never have to worry about who to play and if they anger a certain group of parents, their job may be in jeopardy. At Pro Shot, we understand there are reasons to fire a coach. They include: poor behavior, apathy, being a poor motivator and or a lack of understanding of how to teach the game.

At no point should playing time be included into this mix.