My daughter Tessa has played sports since she was four years old, and over the years we have dealt with a lot of coaches, nearly all of whom have been good sports. Occasionally you come across someone who is too competitive or who believes girls should warm the bench while the boys get to play, but overall our experiences have been good.
Last year, she played on her school’s high-school basketball team and although it was difficult for a number of reasons, after much consideration she decided to play again this year. With an increase in players and a cut in funding, last year’s coach has sought help from another coach, leaving the girls without the person they all signed up to work with. This new coach is proving to be difficult. She is smaller than any of the girls on the team (Tessa is only 5’4”), and at first I thought she might be coming on strong to establish authority. I suggested as much and told Tessa to give her a chance. Two weeks ago, Tessa took a bad fall when lunging for the ball and she got pretty scraped up. Her knee would stiffen up for days after and although the coach admitted she could see she was hurting, she told her to run anyway.
Fast forward to Tuesday when the school had their first game of the season. This was a fundraiser for the program, and it was the student team against their coach and teachers. The girls came out and dominated their teachers, as well as this new coach. Granted, the coach did make a few baskets, but she also tripped (accidentally, I’m sure) one of the girls who now has a torn muscle. When this girl was missing from practice yesterday due to a doctor appointment, the coach said she wouldn’t have been hurt if she had practiced harder.
Needless to say, her friends and teammates are outraged. There was no remorse on the part of the coach for hurting her, and in fact she went on to tell them they had played poorly and that “everyone, even the other teachers” could see that. I was at this game and they played better than they have ever played, especially considering that they were left to coach themselves. The coach went on to question why Tessa hadn’t taken more shots, telling her that she knew she’d wanted to score. Tessa plays defense first and foremost and is fine with allowing others to make the shots. She says when she told the coach she had not wanted to take more shots, she just insisted she knows how Tessa thinks. Everything that was reported to me about yesterday’s practice sounds like a very small person who can’t accept defeat. I’m finding it very hard to encourage my child to respect this coach. How would you handle this?