Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is Coaching Changing?

I grew up as a CK. If you were a CK, you know what that stands for. For those of you who did not grow up in a family with a father and/or mother who was or is a coach, CK is a Coach's Kid.

I loved it! It afforded me many opportunities none of the other students had. It started before I was even old enough to go to school. My dad played for a living and I got to go along for the ride. I talk about it quite bit in my ebook I Still Believe in Tomorrow.

I grew up with a ball in my hands. Literally, My first basketball came along before I did! Here is a shot of my dad and me at six months old:

I love the wallpaper and my bib overalls!

It was not long after I started walking before I was learning how to dribble!

I want to share one more picture of my first coach and mentor before I get to the point of this post. My dad started coaching me in organized sports in summer league baseball when we lived in Edgerton, Minnesota and I was eight or nine years old. This shot was taken in our backyard in Sibley, Iowa the summer of 1968 and I was thirteen:

In Iowa, they played their school baseball in the summer because there were always rain outs and cold weather in the spring, so they could rarely get a full schedule of games played. The benefit for us athletes was, we could participate in four sports. It was GREAT!

Now, the Minneapolis StarTribune claims: Coaches no longer make decisions in a vacuum. Some parents second-guess every move, and some coaches resent it. ... You can read the Updated: May 24, 2012 online article by clicking here.

I can relate to this story because my dad's contract was not renewed twice because he did not do a few of the points on the following list. So, the movers came, hooked up to the trailer and it was off to the next town. One of them was his home town in 1960! With all due respect to the author of the referenced article in the StarTribune, Jason Gonzalez, this phenomena is not new.

It is my experience parents have always had a problem with coaches for a number of reasons like:

1. Their son or daughter's team did not win enough
2. Their son or daughter did not get to play enough
3. Their son or daughter got cut from the team
4. The coach was too disciplined
5. The coach was not disciplined enough
6. The coach was too loud
7. The coach was not loud enough
8. The coach picked on their son or daughter
9. The coach had favorite players and treated them differently
10. The coach did not win the big game.

The article refers mostly to high school coaches, and a recent rash of resignations and firings because coaches have had it with their decisions both on and off the field. There are a number of reasons given in the article, but their main reason was the coaches were bullies.

Many of us have heard of the recent rash of scandals in the college coaching ranks. I find them disgusting! We have heard the old adage There is a bad apple in every barrel. It happens in every profession, and coaching is no different. However, there are the vast majority of both men and women coaches out there, at all levels of competition, who are good, honest, decent people who are doing a great job coaching! There are also good men and women who spent their entire careers teaching young men and women to be good people, not just good athletes! I like reading about people like John Wooden, and recently retired, Pat Summit.

Those are just two examples of great coaches. I had several I could list as well. Do you have any good coaching stories you would like to share?

I look forward to hearing about them.




Colleen said...

Right on, Michael!

Howard said...

Mike, I had several good coaches. One of them was also your dad. In track your dad was more of a running coach and not a throw coach. But what really helped me in college track was that he really cared about me and how I was doing as a discus thrower. When I was young and away from home if there was ever anything that I needed, I knew that I could always go to Arlin because I knew he would help me. I'm sure that my brother John would say the same thing. Your dad was a good friend of our family. We had good times together the two years that he coached me especially our trip to nationals two years in a row to Houston, Tx. We also kept in contact after college until he past. I still compete in the senior games and sometimes I wish I could pick up the phone and call Arlin to let him know how I did. I know that he would have been impressed. I do miss him. Take care Howard.

Mike Patrick said...


Thanks for your kind words. My dad was one of those good coaches out there. like I said in my eulogy, "I don't know if he was more proud of his coaching you to a National Championship, or him being on a National Championship team!"

I'm glad to hear you are still competing! I know he is impressed. When you feel like calling him to let him know how you did, just talk to him. His spirit hears you.

I miss him too. I talk to him all the time!



Anonymous said...

In sports I was not blessed with a memorable coach. But in real life, my gramps was the best coach to have who taught me how to fish, trap, hunt, clean game and just plain love the outdoors. He mentored me with patience, understanding, a steady hand and a heart of love. Because of him, I had an outdoor conservation career and continue my passion of hunting, fishing and the great outdoors. Ruona