sportsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

The trainer tantrum – it proves they care!

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During my many tournament travels, I often see, in a variety of sports, some poor team or kid getting trounced. They’re in the wrong skill group or age level or something, but it’s a lopsided whupping. Sometimes, especially in more competitive events, that team or kid will have a trainer.

And a lot of times, that trainer will be throwing a heck of a tantrum.

It doesn’t matter that there is no chance of her team winning. It doesn’t matter that his athlete probably should never have signed up in that tournament at that level.

The trainer will be going clipboard-tossing, bench-kicking, waterjug-hurling bonkers ballistic.

It won’t change the outcome. It won’t even change her team’s efforts (except, usually, to make matters worse).

But he has to do it. He has to throw stuff and yell, because he has to prove he cares.

She has to scream at her players to show that it matters to her, to the parents, to the world.

I mean, if you’re making all this money cultivating — or at least responding to — the dreams of your parents that their nine-year-olds are going D1 (or even pro!), you need to demonstrate an expected level of passion. You also have to demonstrate in no uncertain terms your disappointment with the playing level that day, which is nowhere near the expected playing level, the level you’ve seen, the level you’ve carefully developed through your brilliant training.

Of course, it’s not all like this. I’ve worked with and seen excellent trainers who are there to help kids hone their athleticism and, themselves having been great players, have a clear understanding of the athletic limits of the players they work with.

But there’s the others. The angry yelling and disappointment directed at kids who cannot possibly, at that time in their lives, perform up to the level of the expectations being voiced.

I guess the good part, though, is that in most cases, when I see this behavior, I don’t believe a gesture/word of it. Those angry-looking trainers aren’t really that mad at the kids. They just have to show it.

Later on they’ll be having a cool pint and maybe even chuckling about it all.

They will show that they’ve earned their money as high-level performers of the art of game/match-time caring.

And somebody is paying for all of it, maybe including that cool pint.

Scott Warnock is a writer and teacher who lives in South Jersey. He is a professor of English at Drexel University, where he directs the University Writing Program. Father of three and husband of one, Scott is on two local school boards and coaches all kinds of youth sports.

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3 Responses to “The trainer tantrum – it proves they care!”

  1. Perhaps a simple solution lies in ensuring all people of all ages personally knows full well the true meaning of a “whipping.”

  2. Perhaps a simple solution lies in ensuring all people of all ages personally knows full well the true meaning of a “whupping.”

  3. The brevity of this article is appreciated.

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