I've chosen to remain anonymous because there are some who I know visit this site and I don't know how they'll react after reading. This isn't meant to be disparaging by any means but because of today's differing opinions some might find it to be. I wasn't an English major in college so please excuse any grammatical errors.
Our youth hockey organization recently had our annual summer club meeting to discuss planning and player/parent rules for the 2018 season. The usual questions were raised as well as the normal instruction regarding inclusion across all teams rosters. For the coaches and managers we all know this is nothing new, the same directive, "everybody plays, nobody's different no matter what his or her skill set may or may not be".
Is this true though?
I've been coaching in different capacities for over 20 years at various levels pee wee to collegiate, and over those years everywhere I've coached, played or stood by and watched my own children as a fan, inclusion has always been the number one topic of discussion. To me, I can't understand why this always creates such heated debate. There are actually coaches at mite through bantam levels who contest how their roster will be played based on who they consider their better players. Keep in mind most of the coaches are dads of players at these levels. Such excuses as Johnny doesn't know how to play, or Jane can't skate with these boys are some of the standard responses. Unfortunately organizations under Tier 1 don't have the luxury of having non parent coaches so for the most part the dads don't seem to get it, it's all about learning not blowing away the competition at every opportunity. I started as the "dad" coach and that is primarily where we start before moving into the role as basically a second job after our kids have finished playing and are grown up. I can't comprehend how today in 2018 we're still discussing this, it should be a given that all kids play the same amount of shifts no matter how well they do or don't play. They all have to learn. My own personal opinion is that if a parent thinks their player is that much better than his or her teammates, move them to a higher level where they think they should be. The key word here is "think" because so very very very many parents who I've crossed paths with over the years always tend to think their kid is the next NHL star.
Ok my ramble is over, that's where I stand. The president of the club thought it would be interesting to do a secret ballot to poll all of the coaches and asked the following question.
As a coach what would you rather have, a team full of role players and 2 or 3 uncoachable phenoms who will always put your team in a position to contend. Or would you rather have an entire team of players with no phenoms and varying skill set but always leave everything on the ice?
I was amazed at the almost unanimous response given by the group. What is your opinion?
Thank you for listening to my ramble