June 2020 - 15

practice. Twenty-four hours before we meet will give us both a
better chance of acting like adults, " one coach said.
Another coach added, " communication eliminates
confusion and people getting pissed off. "
Transparency was another buzz word brought up by
coaches - whether it's filling parents in on league rules
for playing time and any athletic codes or personal
expectations the coach may have.
" At the beginning of every year/season, I conduct a
parent-coach meeting, requiring all of our football parents to
attend. At that time I go over all team policies, regulations,
program philosophy, etc. I also cover what I will and won't
talk about with parents. While I still get the occasional
inquiry from a misinformed/unreasonable parent, this
meeting has served to curb the number of inquiries that I
think most other coaches get, " a coach said.
" [I] remind parents that we hire coaches that want to
win and therefore play the best players, especially at the
varsity level, " another coach said.
Documentation was another tool coaches and
athletic administrators used, not only to have a
record of meetings and incidents but, as a deterrent.
Confrontations between parents and coaches are
typically fueled by emotions. And while a 24-hour policy
will often let cooler heads prevail, the idea of being
officially on the record can also make parents think twice
about how pressing their issue is.
" I let everyone know that I will meet with a parent
anytime - just not after a game, " a coach said. " Their child
must be present at the meeting and I then document the
time, location, and parent's concerns. I give a copy of all
the meetings to our AD, our school administrator, the head
coach if I'm not the head coach, and to the parents. This
has stopped about 95% of any problems once the parents
know the school district is aware of the situation. "
Where Have All the Officials Gone?
It's long been said that the best type of referees are the
ones spectators never notice. But what happens referees
aren't there to even go unnoticed?
As state high school athletic organizations and youth
sports groups nationwide are battling shortages of
officials, we asked coaches what they believed to be the
biggest contributing factor to the shortage of referees,
checking all the choices that apply. The most-answered
response was very similar to last year's coaches report,
with 80% of coaches polled saying treatment by fans/
parents - up two percent from 2019.
More than half of the coaches added the lack of interest
by young people as another major contributing factor.
Forty-three percent turned the blame back on themselves,
saying their treatment was the third-highest factor in the
referee shortage. And nearly 37% agreed lack of proper
monetary compensation also contributed.
So, aside from raising the wage and getting younger
people involved in the field, how do we ensure that games
" Coaches, parents, and players need to make
sportsmanship the #1 priority in our game, " one coach
suggested. " That is against societal norms which is what
most people follow. Until then we will not have younger
people joining the officiating ranks. "
Another coach made an interesting suggestion of how
to recruit former collegiate student-athletes to the other
side of the game.
" For most student-athletes, senior year in college is
their last year of being part of the game. There should be
massive recruiting efforts in college with course credit
available for any and all players involved in a sport. "
But, surprisingly, we received multiple suggestions of
simply raising awareness of the referee shortage.
" I'm not sure people know there is a shortage of
referees, " a coach said. " Making this a more well-known
point would perhaps increase the number of applicants. "
Another coach suggested advertising, saying they should
" push the program. At games, maybe have a banner asking
for those interested in becoming an official call [this
number]. There could be parents that would be interested.
When I was coaching basketball, I had a parent who did not
like the officials. He and his daughter went on to become
pretty good officials and stuck around for 10 years.
Esports on the Even Playing Field?
There are very few people denying the rise of esports in
the nation, with professional esports gamers earning six
or seven-figure salaries. That popularity has trickled down
to the college levels where, according to Next College
How would you grade the quality of referees
in your respective sport?
What do you believe is causing the
referee shortage?

June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2020

June 2020 - 1
June 2020 - 2
June 2020 - 3
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