I wanna play football for the coach

Fight Your Own Battles

Written by Rosemary Gross – July/August 2006   
Not getting enough playing time? Not seeing eye to eye with the coach? My advice to you – fight your own battles. This is a lesson better learned now rather then later. Yes, the easy way out is to let your parents deal with the problem, but are your parents going to ask for your first raise, too? Get used to these kinds of uncomfortable situations because they will rear their ugly faces at other times in your life. No one likes to be confrontational, but there is a way to do it professionally and diplomatically.

As a coach, I didn’t want to talk with any of my athlete’s parents if I hadn’t already talked to the athlete herself. I made this rule known at my parent meeting, and for the most part my athletes abided by it. It was the parents who had a hard time with the rule. They wanted to talk about their daughter’s lack of playing time, positional play or other issues. Inevitably, their daughter would be begging for forgiveness the next day at practice. My athletes were aware that I wanted them to fight their own battles, not because I didn’t want to talk to their parents, but because they needed to learn to express themselves about what was important to them. I gained a lot of respect for athletes who came to me with issues that they were not happy about. I would address the issues and then, if I still didn’t give them the answers they were looking for or if they still didn’t understand my logic, I would meet with them and their parents. If athletes are unhappy, then they need to speak to the coach. If their parents are unhappy, then they should talk to their daughters. Most athletes knowtheir roles on a team. Maybe they are just happy being part of a winning tradition or being part of a team. Ladies, let your parents know how you feel. It’s important, and it is one of those uncomfortable situations. You may have to tell your parents to let you fight your own battles.

Now you’re ready to fight your battle. You say “I’m a senior and that that should count for something. I should be playing more; I should be captain; I should, blah, blah, blah.”  What you should do, is earn it!  Being a senior is worth something, but not worth things that should be earned. If you are going to fight that battle, be prepared. Part of athletics is being able to realize that there will always be others, even freshmen and sophomores, who may be more talented then you. If your Varsity coach is playing to win, those who are more talented should be starting and playing. If you choose to fight the battle, be prepared to back up your words with actions.  Your coach may not give you the answer that you are looking for, but she is now aware that you are not happy with your playing time or whatever your concern. Ask for areas of your game that need improvement. Do not be offended when the coach tells you what they are. You asked the question; be open to the answer. Ask for drills or ways that you can improve. Lastly, be ready to change. Words are a dime a dozen, but actions move mountains. Back your words up with action. Start staying after practice is finished and work more, start working on weaknesses on your own time and, lastly, start showing your coach that being a senior means earning your playing time.

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