Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Double Goal Coaching

A victory is so much sweeter when it’s a team victory! This is the culmination of every team practice, when every player feels they made a contribution to the victory. It’s not often that this happens, and it’s a credit to the coaches who are able to integrate every player into a game. It shows that the coaches are paying attention not only to the game, but also to the players’ strengths, efforts, and hopes.

Let’s chalk up a double victory each time the team wins and every player gets into the game! With coaching focused on promoting sportsmanship, teamwork, and building on the players’ strengths, the double victory can become a powerful tradition.

Go Team!

Every Player, Every Game.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Coaches! Consider your Respect Level

Let’s say you are a coach that has been around for a while. You feel you have earned a certain amount of respect for all the years of coaching and teaching you’ve put in. Well, how would you feel if someone brought in a new coach that had an undefeated season with a previous team and then replaced you as coach with the new coach? You would feel that it was unfair for all the time you had invested and that one winning season is not proof enough that his other coach is better qualified. Personally, I would have to agree.

Now apply that same scenario to the players that you coach. Many kids started playing their sport when they were in third or fourth grade. Then the players advanced to travel teams or AAU teams and play their sport all year round. Now the players enter the high school program and advance from freshman, to JV, and then onto varsity in their junior or senior years. Well, how do you think these upper classmen feel when you (as the coach) put in a freshman or sophomore that has not invested the amount of time and training that the upper classmen have? They would have the same feelings you would have about your replacement coach. They have invested their time and efforts over the years and feel that they should be given a certain amount of respect for their efforts.

You may say that the younger players will help the team will win more games, but whom are they winning the games for...the coach? Winning more games does not honor the years of effort put in by the upper classmen, it honors the coach who will get their name in the Hall of Fame. Who is this game about, the players or the coach?

Sure, you have helped a select group of players get into some colleges but what about all the rest of the players that you have disrespected along the way by showing more bench time than playing time? I know there is a larger group of student athletes that were completely demoralized by the fact they were on the bench more than they were on the playing field or court.

If you modify your coaching style to playing upper classmen, then all the players will understand that when they are brought to the varsity level, the upper classmen will have first chance at playing time and under classmen will wait their turn. This will provide a more consistent system that will help unify the team. Bringing under classmen into the starting line up confuses the players and breeds discord within the team.

I ask you to consider the impact you have on players and parents in their student athletes’ future. All players should be given the opportunity to continue playing their sport in college and the amount of exposure they get in their high school careers effects not only where they might be able to play but how much scholarship money they may receive. The amount of scholarship money ultimately affects the players’ family and their financial needs. A more consistent style of coaching and utilizing the upper classmen will help the individual players in pursuit of their college dreams and provide a more coherent high school team.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Responsible Sports Season Evaluation

Establishing an evaluation process can be extremely helpful for sport organizations. It reinforces shared values, provides a forum for constructive feedback, and delivers quantitative as well as qualitative results to support future actions.

Gain Valuable Insights From Your Team's Parents
The Responsible Sports Season Evaluation Tool, developed in partnership by the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance, helps leagues and teams solicit feedback from parents on their child’s youth sports experience.This free, easy-to-use online survey tool gives parents a forum to provide constructive feedback while giving coaches and administrators key insights into areas of strength and areas of opportunity. The Season Evaluation Tool handles all of the survey sends, data tabulation and even provides recommendations from the experts at PCA based on your organization’s results. And with optional group settings, you can sort your results by sport, division or team.

Check it out at

Monday, September 21, 2009

School is back in session

The school season has begun and the Athletic Director of our district led off with the Captain's Academy for Student-Athlete Leadership. This is a great concept and the AD, along with his staff, should be applauded for their efforts. The Captain's Academy objective is to develop captains and leaders of sports teams who serve as positive leaders and role models for those around them.

The Captain's Academy worked on three main themes. 1)How to communicate with coaches? 2) What is the student-athlete experience? How to handle adversity as a leader? 3) How to deal with Code violations as a team?

We wish them continued success in their on going efforts in opening communications with the players, coaches, and the Athletic Director.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer recess

The summer has brought a long recess to the EPEG effort. There has been some activity with the Positive Coaches Alliance while some of the other important groups have been vacationing. School will be starting again soon and we can only hope that we can continue the dialogues previously started and continue the work of bringing stuent athletes the best possible experience from their high school days.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

AD responds to PCA info

The Athletic Director did respond with the following:

"Thank you for the email and we are very excited about the development of our Captain's Academy for fall 2009. As far as parental involvement, we are going to be inviting parents in for the end of the program. Also, thank you for the info on the Positive Coaching Alliance. Hope all else is well and talk to you soon. "

We can only hope that they will explore the PCA website and contact Rich Pruszinski. The PCA provides group workshops for an organization's leaders, coaches, parents and athletes that emphasize character-education and life lessons through sports. Please visit the website yourself and see

In the end, is it about a winning season for the coach or educating student athletes??

Thursday, June 25, 2009

PCA Materials forwarded

We sent some PCA materials to our Athletic Director, Superintendent of Schools, and the Assistant to the Superintendent along with a brief letter. Here is an exert from our letter:

"During the AAU season we came in contact with an organization that would be a very good resource for the ______ sports programs. The Positive Coaching Alliance, or PCA, was developed by the Department of Athletics at Stanford University. This is a national organization, and we have been in touch with one of their representatives, Rich Pruszinski. He has forwarded some information which is attached to this e-mail. The PCA program can serve our district by providing a tested methodology that helps schools transform the culture of youth sports to give all young athletes the opportunity for a positive, character-building experience. Rich would welcome the opportunity to provide you with more information or answer any questions directly. Rich’s phone is 414-242-8125; his e-mail is The PCA main website is Please consider investigating this program extensively.

On a separate note, we would like to congratulate your efforts in creating the Captain’s Academy. We believe this is a good first step in opening communication between coaches and players. We might suggest adding parents to the Academy, as they are another party that should be represented. Parents’ insight and experience provide another perspective and source of information that could be beneficial. Thank you for your concern and dedication. We look forward to hearing your opinions about the PCA. "

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Positive Coach

Just found a group that is transforming youth sports (and school sports) through Positive Coaching. The organization teaches coaches, players, and parents how to work together to bring a positive experience to student athletes.

Positive Coaching Alliance Mission Statement:
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a nonprofit organization founded at Stanford University with the mission to transform youth sports so sports can transform youth. PCA was created to transform the culture of youth sports to give all young athletes the opportunity for a positive, character-building experience.We have three national goals:
1) Replace the "win-at-all-cost" model of coaching with the Double-Goal Coach®, who wants to win but has a second, more important, goal of using sports to teach life lessons;
2) Teach youth sports organization leaders how to create an organizational culture in which Honoring the Game is the norm; and
3) Spark and fuel a "social epidemic" of Positive Coaching that will sweep this country.

There are many people in this nation who want to change the culture of youth sports, but they do not feel equipped to do so. Positive Coaching Alliance has developed practical tools to change the culture of youth sports and is making them available to coaches, parents, league organizers and others who will fire this movement.

Please check out their website at and let us know what you think. Or better yet, let your school's Athletic Director know what you think.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Follow up letter to Directors

We wanted to send each of you a sincere thank you, albeit belatedly, for taking the time out from your busy schedules to meet with us regarding our “Every Player, Every Game” idea. We think that the meeting proved to be very productive, as each of us gained insight to the others’ perspectives. It also confirmed for us how fortunate we are to live in a School District, where the administration truly cares about the quality of each child’s school and sports experience.

There are still, however, a few areas of concern. The point was made at the meeting that varsity sports were the equivalent of “AP Phys Ed”. We can appreciate the advanced nature of each sport and level of competition at the varsity level. But to complete the analogy, every AP student in any AP class gets to participate in the labs or tests. No one is asked to sit out of a particular chemistry or physics lab because the concept being illustrated might be beyond their skill level. The elite musical ensembles offered at schools allow each band member to play each piece. Not every player expects to get a solo, however. The same should be true of sports.

As for the surveys conducted in past years at the end of each sport’s season, the survey identified the problem perfectly: the team members that get to play, love the sports program. Team members that don’t play, are dissatisfied. We couldn't have said it better ourselves. It’s not that the surveys were uninformative, on the contrary, they were dead on. What needs to happen next is to find ways to improve the satisfaction level of those on the lower end of the survey spectrum. It is exactly this problem that led us to developing the “Every Player, Every Game” concept. More playing time would be an obvious solution to those that are disgruntled with the current system. Another positive step would be the student/team-captain board to which we alluded at the meeting. Removing, or at least distancing, the coaches from the “complaint department manager” function would certainly be well received by the coaches. Players and parents would also appreciate the elimination of the emotional and confrontational nature of voicing suggestions, opinions or complaints directly to the coaches.

With open dialogue, open minds, and a willingness to keep each student’s success at school and in sports as a primary goal, we feel confident that these issues will be fully addressed and overcome.It was a pleasure meeting and working with each of you, and we look forward to assisting in any way possible to achieve this worthy goal.

Meeting with the administrators

We did have a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools, the Assistant to the Superintendent, and the Athletic Director. Everyone expressed their ideas and concerns regarding the Every Player, Every Game concept and the current status of high school sports.

Areas of concern included how this might be implemented in sports such as golf, tennis, or track. The expectations of parents and the community to provide a "winning" program. And the pressure each coach faces to meet these expectations. How varsity sports were deemed to be the competetive level of sports while JV and Freshman sports are instructional.

It was highlighted that the NYSPHAA Code of Ethics makes no mention that schools are required to provide a winning program nor to make Varsity sports a highly competitive program.

The discussion lasted for about 45 minutes and concluded with some ideas that the Athletic Director will be introducing next year. All agreed that the meeting was very beneficial and that all parties are interested in making the athletic program the very best, a well rounded and rewarding experience.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Board of Ed update

Our local Board of Education did not contact us for a while so we contacted them. We called and left a message for the Superintendent of Schools and one of his assistants called back. The assistant was very helpful and we had a productive discussion for over twenty minutes. The Assistant thought the idea held enough merit to schedule a meeting with herself, the Athletic Director, and indicated that the Superintendent might sit in as well.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

AAU should be applauded

There is an AAU organization in our area that has recently come out with a Coaches Code of Conduct. Their document captures the spirit of the Every Player, Every Game idea and puts it into a document that their coaches have to read and sign! The document has been edited to remove their name, but you can still understand the text. This organization should be applauded for their efforts!

Coaches Code of Conduct
The function of a coach is to encourage, develop, and educate all players participating in
THE _____ _____ AAU. Skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork should be taught and
promoted. Each player should be treated with the belief that the welfare of the player is the
coach's uppermost concern. To promote these ideals THE _____ _____ AAU has
adopted the following Code of Conduct that all coaches must adhere to.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall be aware that he or she has a
tremendous influence - both positive and negative - on the development of the
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall never place the value of winning above
that of instilling the highest ideals of character.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall uphold the honor and dignity of the
sport, organization, and league in all personal contact with participating players,
parents, coaches, officials, administrators, league officials, spectators and public.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall strive to set an example of the highest
moral and ethical conduct.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco
products when coaching players.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach will select a Team Mom if they are a male and
do not have a female Assistant Coach.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach will encourage the parents to provide feedback
via our website WWW._____
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall strive to master the sport of ______
rules and shall teach these rules to his/her team members. The coach shall not seek
an advantage by circumvention of the spirit or letter of the rules.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall exert his/her influence to encourage
sportsmanship by spectators.
• THE _____ _____ Coach shall respect and support officials. The
_____ _____ AAU Coach shall not indulge in conduct which would incite
players or spectators against the officials.
• THE _____ _____ AAU Coach shall initiate an exchange of cordial greetings
between competing teams.
I acknowledge that I am an extension of THE _____ _____ AAU organization and
agree to conduct myself in a fashion that will bring pride to THE _____ _____ AAU. I
will abide by the Code of Conduct.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Board of Education meeting

We attended our first Board of Education meeting and made our statement during the Public Comment section of the meeting. Being that it was our first BOE meeting, it did not go as smoothly as we would have liked but the Board listened attentively and asked a question or two after the presentation. The Athletic Director was present as well. We are still awaiting a response from the BOE and/or the Athletic Director.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The next step

We've sent letters to our local high school athletic director and our high school's board of education. We have also sent a letter to Nina Van Erk, the Executive Director at the NYSPHSAA. We are still waiting for responses from them.

Next up, we will be sending letters to the Executive Staff, Association Officers, and the Central and Executive Committee Members of NYSPHSAA. All of this in hopes of finding an advocate within the system that can help change the current policies.


We have received a lot of positive feedback from parents, players, and coaches. Thank you to everyone who has shown their support in verbal conversation and by e-mail. We have changed the comments setting so you can leave an anonymous comment on the blog. The following comments are copied from e-mails we received but the senders names have been removed:

-"What a beautiful letter. As a (person) who works with troubled juveniles I second your call for athletics to be run for the benefit of the kids as opposed to adult coaching or spectating interests. Putting the interests of our children above the "winning at all costs" philosophy of coaches and spectators is long overdue. As a parent whose daughter was involved in year-round sports for about 5 years I have seen some atrocious displays by coaches, spectators , and even referees. The coaches and referees that I admired during this period were the ones who were sensitive to the children's needs. [I have often wondered what would happen in women's school sports if only women coached and refereed. Perhaps its time to float the idea. I would guess that the male coaches would be a bit more sensitive as a result]. Your call is well overdue and I support your efforts. Let me know if there is any assistance I can provide."

-"WOW!!!! I was totally blown away by your letter. I think you've touched on every point there was to touch on, and if this doesn't change things for players all across the board in every sport, I truly don't know what will. In my wildest imagine I never could have written anything so powerful yet so basic and simple.
Being one of the many parents who have suffered through watching their child sit the bench and cry afterwards, I thank you so much for taking the time and caring enough to appeal to the "higher ups". If it changes nothing then that says alot about the real ideals and goals of our athletic department/coaches. I will be very surprised though if that is the case."

-"Well done. If there is anything I can do to help support your initiative please let me know.
.....Your proposed plan is sound and I believe that AAU basketball has proven that. Every player, every game...."

Monday, February 23, 2009

The original idea

Many parents and fans sit and watch a high school sporting event and wonder why some players are left on the bench while others are shown more playing time. Parents and players are afraid to ask those types of questions to coaches or Athletic Directors because they are afraid to have a negative influence on their child’s playing time. So they sit there each game and become more frustrated, feeling that there is nothing they can do about it, or just accept it as “the way it has always been done.” We are beginning a grass roots effort to change the way high school sports are played and coached.

The ‘Every Player, Every Game’ campaign has as its’ basic premise that every player, in every sports program, should get the opportunity to play in every game. We would like to establish a minimum playing requirement that would require all coaches, on all teams to get ALL of their players in the game for a preset minimum amount of playing time. Teams are formed for the players, and each player should be rewarded for their hard work in practice and contributions to the team. Therefore, every player on every team should be allowed to play.

Coaches too often feel that their job is to provide a winning program for their school and they are often judged by that standard. But the NYSPHSAA Code of Ethics clearly states “that an athletic contest is only a game........not a matter of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state or nation.” Coaches can be influenced by external factors, just like anyone else. Sometimes those outside influences lead to bad decisions about players and their time in the game. If there are minimum playing time standards, then coaches will have to give every player the opportunity to play. It will make coaches responsible for coaching the entire team, not just a select few. It will mean that coaches must learn to more effectively manage their players during each game and play them when each player could be most productive.

We encourage you to contact your school’s Athletic Director and tell them that you support the idea of “Every Player, Every Game”. Furthermore, you can also contact the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) board members, whose email addresses are listed on their website cited below, and let them know you want Every Player in Every Game. The NYSPHSAA board sets all the rules for all high school sports programs in New York State. They have the ability to change the way high school sports operate and can help us to get the rules changed. Please read the attached 2008-2009 Code of Ethics from the NYSPHSAA website,, and see how well your high school athletics program meets these ideals. Comments can also be sent to the board’s executive director, Nina Van Erk at

Your high school athlete will thank you for it.

The following is the introductory paragraph from the NYSPHSAA Handbook.

“We are pleased to present you with the 2008-2010 edition of the HANDBOOK of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. Clarification of, and changes in, the regulations and standards are indicated by shading.
We encourage you to supply copies of the HANDBOOK to all your coaches. Knowing only the game rules of a sport is not enough to protect student eligibility. We also recommend again that rule reprints be made available at preseason meetings for athletes and their parents to ensure knowledge of the rules.
We cannot emphasize enough that the rules and regulations in the HANDBOOK are your standards, developed as the result of your input. We ask your support in the partnership of enforcing these rules and regulations. Each of us must take that responsibility seriously. We know that by working together we can ensure that our students will experience equitable and safe athletic participation.”

Listed below is the Code of Ethics from the NYSPHSAA Handbook.



1. To emphasize the proper ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and
fair play.

2. To eliminate all possibilities which tend to destroy the best values of
the game.

3. To stress the values derived from playing the game fairly.

4. To show cordial courtesy to visiting teams and officials.

5. To establish a happy relationship between visitors and hosts.

6. To respect the integrity and judgment of the sports officials.

7. To achieve a thorough understanding and acceptance of the rules of the
game and standards of eligibility.

8. To encourage leadership, use of incentive, and good judgment by the
players on the team.

9. To recognize that the purpose of athletics is to promote the physical,
mental, moral, social, and emotional well-being of the individual players.

10. To remember that an athletic contest is only a game........not a matter
of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state
or nation.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

that's the way it's always been

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, one of the monkeys will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, that all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairs. Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his suprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, and then a fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not?


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

more contact info

If you live in NYSPHSAA Section 2 area, you can follow this link to their website. It provides contact information for every league, sub league, and council in Section 2. Then you can send a letter to those people that you feel will have the most influence for your sport.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

sample letter to NYSPHSAA

If you would like to send a letter to Nina Van Erk, the Executive Director of NYSPHSAA, we have a sample letter that might be helpful or feel free to create your own.


To: Ms. Nina Van Erk, Executive Director
Re: Every Player, Every Game

Dear Ms. Van Erk,

We are writing to you as concerned team parents and supporters of school sports in hopes of alerting you to and asking for your help in solving some problems common in high school sports. One affects many high school athletes directly, namely, getting virtually no playing time in their varsity or junior varsity sport. The other is an attempt to ensure that the coaches and their respective staffs, whom you oversee, are familiar with, accept and practice the Code of Ethics, as stated in the NYSPHSAA manual.

Students try out to become players on their respective teams because they love playing their sport and wish to contribute to their team. Making the team indicates that they already possess most of the required skills necessary to be an active participant in their sport. Granted, there are different levels of players on any given team, and everyone realizes that it would be impossible for each player to play the entire game every time. However, even if someone is not the strongest team member, they should still be given an opportunity to play in each game, for at least a small percentage of the time. For a true player, just being on a team is not enough. True players want to play the game, win or lose. But all too often, players have a coach or coaching staff that denies them playing time, rarely or never giving them an opportunity to play.

We believe that by being accepted onto a high school sports team, every player should be guaranteed a minimum amount of playing time in every game, with obvious exclusions for illness, injury or disciplinary action. Just exactly what that number should be is up for discussion, but we feel that 10% of the each sport’s total game time would be a good starting point. For example, in basketball, each player could expect to play in every game for a minimum of about 3 minutes. For high school football, that would translate to roughly 4-5 minutes per player per game. In baseball, each player would see about one inning of playing time, and so on. Giving every player a chance to participate can boost the players’ confidence and self-esteem, teach leadership skills and other valuable life skills. Having a positive and supportive coach, as well concrete and realistic expectations about one’s playing time, will almost always lead to better quality performance and a more cohesive team…a win-win situation. Please refer to No. 10 in the NYSPHSAA Code of Ethics: “…Remember that an athletic contest is only a game….not a matter of life or death for player, coach, school, official, fan, community, state or nation”.

Some coaches might feel that recording each player’s time would become problematic. Each sport and each team tracks stats for everything, from points scored to turnovers committed, so keeping track of minutes (time) played should not be a burden. Each team would track players in the game and then compare books to verify that each player got into the game for the minimum amount of time required. Any coach that does not get his/her players into every game would then be subject to progressive disciplinary actions (e.g., first time a warning, second time cannot coach for one full game, third time cannot coach for three full games). This will reinforce that coaches pay attention to all the players they select for a team. This change, when instituted, could mean that coaches would need to become more selective in their choice of athletes when making up their roster. But we feel that it would be better for a player to know up front that they have not made the team and suffer one disappointment, rather than have them show up for each game hoping for some playing time and be repeatedly disappointed.

We are not trying to single out a specific sport or coach, because this problem exists in virtually every high school sport. The conversations that go on behind the scenes at the games and social gatherings indicate a high disapproval rating among players and team parents regarding how much time individual players are given. Yet, there are few complaints voiced, because both the players and their parents are afraid of the repercussions of such actions. They fear that their child’s playing time and/or the coach’s attitude toward their student athlete will be negatively affected. And this leads into the second issue of having coaches abide by the NYSPHSAA Code of Ethics. There is no fair grievance process for addressing concerns about a coach’s conduct or decisions. Unfortunately, in some cases, where coaching has become too powerful, there is no accountability to the players and the team parents, and no clear policy for identifying and addressing problems or ways of coming to a fair resolution. A stated policy, by which coaches, players and team parents must abide, would greatly improve communication, cooperation and satisfaction.

We realize the huge commitment made on the part of the coaches, all for minimal pay and recognition. Their dedication to expanding students’ skills, maturity, athleticism, leadership and responsibility is commendable. We also acknowledge that the vast majority of coaches perform their coaching duties in a professional and ethical manner, teaching their athletes valuable life skills. But, when players and parents are afraid to approach their coaches because of negative repercussions, the system is broken. When coaches play favorites, to the exclusion of other perfectly capable players, the unfairness breaks down the players’ spirit. When coaches apply inconsistent rules regarding rewards for good performance or negative reinforcements for poor performance, the result is divisiveness for the team. When coaches allow themselves to be influenced by certain parents, affecting every team member’s playing-time, the players lose respect for the coaches. When coaches give their players hope about increased playing-time, and then do not follow through with their word, honor and respect for the coaches are lost. It is divisive for a team to have individual players that receive unearned and unequal amounts of playing time. Behavior such as this contradicts both the first and ninth listings of the Code of Ethics: “ to emphasize the proper ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and fair play” and “to recognize that the purpose of athletics is to promote the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of the individual players”.

A coach or coaching staff can make or break a player. It is their opinion that determines how much playing time a team member gets. Often, players try out for high school level sports after having come through other programs, such as an AAU league or a travel program, where they had a proven record, one that would make a positive contribution to the high school team. If they then are selected for the high school team and are not given the opportunity to play, because of the coaches’ biased opinion, the players’ self-esteem and confidence are shattered. This begs the question: Are coaches teaching all of our student athletes to become better team players, or are they only coaching a select few? Are the players there to secure a legacy for the coaches? Has the glory of a school’s winning record taken precedence over the ideals of hard work, overcoming obstacles, and learning leadership and life skills? Do they even realize that this type of attitude is a complete contradiction of the Code of Ethics, which should guide them in their decision-making?

A possible solution for the coaches who have broken the Code of Ethics would be to have them attend awareness or sensitivity-training programs to educate them in teen psychology and what the consequences of their coaching decisions may have on each of their players. Coaches may not realize how much power and influence they wield, how it affects the players’ performance in the game, but also in their life skills. This power can enhance or destroy a player’s performance in their sport, affect their future prospects for college, and shape their self-esteem and confidence. Less playing time signals that the player is not good enough. Giving a favored player too much playing time without having earned it, gives the privileged player an unjustified sense of entitlement. Coaches need to be reminded of the difficult, emotional stage of life that our players are going through. Teenage players need to make decisions on everything from peer pressure, selecting colleges, sports, social relationships, and even drugs and sex. Sports has always been promoted as the safe haven that helps keep kids on the right track. But if a player is discouraged from their chosen sport because of a coach’s poor influence, then they may have forced that player to look at potentially dangerous alternative choices.

We are appealing to you, as the Executive Director of NYSPHSAA, to take up this challenge and implement an “Every Player, Every Game” program in New York State, to promote fairness in coaching and to give all players the right to participate in their sport without being coerced by other players or coaches. We stand ready to do whatever it takes to make this necessary change. We need an advocate who believes that a well-run sports program with transparent, systematic, codified and enforced policies can profoundly change the lives of everyone who participates. The players are ready to play, but they need an advocate that will help them meet their goals. We strongly urge you to become a leader in implementing such a plan in our state. Please consider becoming the example for other states to follow. Now is the time to show our student athletes that even though problems have existed in the past, a true leader can face difficult challenges and make improvements for the benefit of all.
Respectfully yours,