Let the Coaches Coach, Let the Players Play

I’m a sports mom. I love watching the kids play, exercise, and compete. I enjoy encouraging them and teaching them sportsmanship. Whether they win or lose, it’s all about balance. Organized sports are about learning the game, understanding the rules, discipline, and resilience. They are not always going to win, that’s a fact. And … it’s OK!

LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FIELD {Court, stage … whatever extracurricular activity they enjoy}

My oldest is 13 and in eighth grade. She played select soccer for 5 years. This year, she took a break. Instead she decided to go out for the school team. After 10 months, she strapped her cleats back on and hit the grass. She had a renewed love for the game and was no longer burnt out. They had a BLAST. The icing on the cake was that the girls had a winning season – all the way through the Parish Championship. {GO TROJANS!}

One thing stood out, though.

A few weeks ago, at the semi-final game, I overheard a mom sitting behind me. “Doesn’t she know better?” “Off-sides all the time!” “That girl is too old to be making these stupid mistakes!” “Who is this kid?” “Coach needs to take her out.” “UHG, I’ll take her out if coach doesn’t.” – Hello? We are on the same team.


It took me a minute to figure out … she was talking about my kid!

Back story:
My daughter was a defender for years. Played in the back, defending the goal. Using her speed and short stature to run down opponents that made it through the middle. They don’t call her Scrappy for no reason. School ball is a bit different – while they are out there to win, they never practiced. Weather issues this season prohibited the team from being able to get together after school. It’s just so much more relaxed, which is why Morgan loved it so much.


Coach decided to put my daughter out front. Sometimes a striker, or playing center-mid. Either way, she had to learn the position and who to trust. Would she take the shot or cross it over? Pass back to allow for more time? In the heat of the moment, she was called for being off-sides. It did happen more than once. It did not change the course of the game and she used it as a learning moment. Coach did talk to her when she made it to the sideline; it was addressed. Calm down! I dare that mom to tell me that her kid has never made a mistake on the field. Not to mention, it’s not her job to judge other players.

I’ve been called “crazy” for sacrificing my time for my children’s activities. It’s what I do. As long as they are enjoying the activity, I’m good with it. If they come to me with a change of heart and want to stop, fine. My only rule is, if you start something, you have to see it through to the end or the year or season. It seems to be working for our family so far.

Please, let the coaches coach, the players play and the referees judge. There will be times when your child needs encouragement. Give it to them. But, belittling those on the field will not win the game or teach the lessons of good sportsmanship. 

Sara Stevens
Sara is a proud mother of two daughters. Morgan (14), a product of her first marriage, and Elizabeth (5) with her husband of seven years, James. He is a very patient, loving soul who embraces all the ladies in his home, including their Schnauzer, Sadie and Jesse the Cat. Sara is a native of Lafayette turned Texas transplant who moved back to Cajun Country as fast as she could. An only child, she maintains a strong relationship with her parents and believes having close friends is important. When she’s not cheering on soccer, volleyball or fixing top knots for dance class, you can find Sara at her day job as an insurance agent for a local agency. She loves spending time at the beach with her family, traveling to new places, and indulging in local food and drink - then working it all off at Red’s. Oh, and all things UL. Geaux Cajuns! She’s just living life wildly. One day at a time.


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