The Toughest Part of Any Coach’s Season….Now!

If you ask a Coach in any Minor team sport what the hardest part of their job is I don’t think there would be too many differing answers.  While I will agree some might say it is difficult parents, some might say some of the kids themselves, most, including me would tell you it is the releasing (cutting to some) of players.

This week I’ve been at Rep tryouts here in Whitby Monday night and last night, with the rest of the week being tied up as well.  In most divisions there are anywhere between 40 – 60 kids competing for 17-18 positions on the # 1 team.   Of those kids roughly (in most cases), 20-25 go into the final night of tryouts.  At that point the Coach (and his or her staff) who have now watched for 4 nights needs to decide who makes it and who does not.

That time spent in the dressing rooms, releasing players is the toughest part of my every season that I Coach.  I am telling a young boy (in most cases), that he did not make a team that he really wants to make and be with some or a lot of his friends.   It is, for me anyway, the toughest part of every season! 



  1. I hear you loud and clear! The toughest part of coaching for me is the first 2 weeks; the games and practices later are a piece of cake.

    The best of luck to all those coaches that can suck it up and look past history and relationships and all the other politics and pick the best 15 boys/girls… it’s a tough job.

  2. I understand and appreciate that this is a diificult time for coaches at this time of the year. But saying that, the comment made about past history and relationships and all the other political crap is very true and is in my opinion what makes it difficult for all involved to accept.
    It would be nice if there were more coaches out there that took that approach and just ignored the rest, but unfortunatly it very rarely happens.
    Sports would be better and people would respect the coaches more if this happened!!

  3. Both of you make very good points. While I will admit that a lot of coaches make “political” decisions, I guess the question needs to be raised; it is the best 15 players but in who’s eyes?

    Many do not understand exactly what a Coach is looking for in those X-15 picks (x being any number you want). Unfortunately, many parents who are unsuccessful feel there was a “political” decision made by finding their son’s / daughter’s strength and comparing it to a player’s weakness that is on the team.

    My opinion has always been for those Coaches who truly make political decisions, they are not around long.

    Just my opinions….good discussion folks.

  4. I agree with the comments above and as a Lax Mom who’s son did not make the team last year I know all the feelings. Yes you are hurt and do compare your child with those that made the team and then you have to stop and think what is best for the child. They are the one that is hurt and confused and you have to answer their questions as best as you can. The only thing I think that all coaches or even the OLA should do is have a standard for making teams. I do not think that a coaching staff should be made before a team (in case the asst. coaches has children that are trying out) and I think that the cuts should all be made in some form where those that are cut are not centered out or have to walk past the others when they visibly upset. Just a different point of view. I will say that if the coach does cut a child in the right way the child is more willing to come back the next year with even more determination, at least I know my son is.

  5. Lax Mom you make a good point. I guess the only confusion I see with a standard for making teams is that many coaches out there have different philosophies of what they want in a team.

    An example, some might want a team of kids over 5 foot only, while another may choose kids that can run the floor length in 8 seconds or less only. The problem is that there really is not a right answer on “what” the actual standard should be.

    As for the way to release kids, there really is not an easy way to do it, but it must be done. Some suggest letters like hockey seems to do a lot. However, I remember reading an NCCP article somewhere suggesting that we as coaches ask players of all ages to perform in really tough situations on the floor in games. Well here is a really tough situation for a coach to tell a player he/she did not make the team; the coach should step up and perform too. By perform, I mean be personable, speak to the child and offer encouragement about other teams or working hard for next season. That to me is the proper way to do it. I hate it, but I know I have to do it…..

  6. Coaches should not be assigned to teams until after tryouts are completed. Period.

    As for the kids who don’t make it, it would be nice if those running the tryouts could put together a ‘report card’ of sorts that states where they need to improve in order to make it in the future.

    Another option is to allow teams to have a practice squad, where kids that are close to making it can work out / run with the main team during the season allowing them to improve their skills for next year.

  7. My son recently got cut from the Tyke 1 team,…. and he took it very hard. Parents newer to the sport have to realize that even left or right shots can be a crucial deciding factor for coaches depending on #’s.
    Hats off to the Tyke 2 coaches who took the time to explain what was happening before the final cuts, and then communicated their responses by email to the parents that evening.
    All coaches volunteer SOOO much time that they should get the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Our emotions (when it comes to OUR kids) can often cloud our perception!

  8. Lax should follow the same tryout process as hockey – no coaches/assistance or trainers picked until team roster is finalized.

    Lax Hack – coaches volunteering is great, but it takes more than a volunteer to coach at the rep level –
    1) someone who completely understands the game – to fully understand, I mean has played the game.
    2) is void of any conflicts of interest – a member of the board should not coach a team.
    3) can select a team in an unbiased manner.

    As far as politics in sports goes, it will never go away. Marksy makes some excellent points regarding a coaches selection process and how it could be misconstruded for politics.

    However, when coaches make political descisions (select kids based on criteria not related to the sport itself), it only services to damage the strength and integrity of the Association.

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