It's finally over... and other musings about volleyball

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 10:50 PM | comments: 2

We had our fall sports banquet today, and it's all officially over. I no longer have to think about high school volleyball.

I resigned from the position. There were two primary reasons, the first being that it's just too much of a time commitment, especially for the money (it breaks down to less than minimum wage, and I typically bill ten times minimum wage for work... you do the math). As I'm trying to change my business from a hobby to a bona fide source of income, I just need more time.

The second reason is of course the ridiculous parents. There were only a few, but it just creates too much of a negative environment, especially when they can't even speak to you directly like an adult. Heck, they even backstabbed each other constantly, saying how so-and-so's kid was a liability or sucked or whatever. For years I've coached in the J.O. environment, where there's a great sense of family and collaboration. I value the ongoing relationships with these families and kids more than any of the medals, trophies or T-shirts. That's really what it's about. These are people that I have over for barbecue and they in turn have me over for family functions. I only had that with a few parents this year, and that's unfortunate.

I guess what's most disappointing is that it's not the kids that are a problem. Yeah, you'll always have attitude problems, self-esteem issues and melt-downs, but you deal with those and the kids always come out stronger. That's really the saving grace I think of the time I spent coaching this team. Every kid ended in a much better place than where they started, some of them drastically so. Most of them are smart, wonderful human beings, and it really was a privilege to be able to coach them. I was also lucky to have a very supportive administration.

Some of my friends who coach J.O. thought I was crazy to coach high school again, but I figured maybe things would be different in a private school. I think I was wrong. Now I see why so few coaches do both. High school is just a different world, and one that requires a certain tolerance that I don't have.

High school volleyball in Ohio is becoming so irrelevant, and it doesn't have to be that way. There are basically two things that hold back volleyball here. The first is the OHSAA. Their rules to "protect" kids only deny them the chance to participate in a way that can lead to a higher level of competition that allows them the exposure kids in every other state already get. A kid can't play for the same coach in high school and J.O., which means that teams are almost always changing. There's also a limit to three kids from a school on the same J.O. team. That's not good because college scouts don't screw around with high school. Why bother when they can go to a national qualifier and see hundreds, even a thousand kids in one place? It's harder to get them noticed when you play against teams that are essentially their high school teams from other states and play well together.

The other problem is in the public schools, where teacher contracts give dibs on coaching jobs to teachers. That's a real problem because there aren't enough teachers qualified to do the job. I'm a strong teacher advocate, but you need a degree and certificate to teach, yet you need no qualification to coach. How screwed up is that? I doubt very much that many high school coaches have a USAV IMPACT certification, let alone CAP I or CAP II. The kids get screwed with inferior people.

Oh well. I did have fun and I'm sure that I'll talk to a lot of those kids and their parents for a long time to come.


Neuski, November 8, 2005, 4:46 AM #

Surely you see the assumed benefit of the OHSAA rules.

Jeff, November 8, 2005, 4:48 AM #

Yeah, the assumed benefit is that you can't exploit teenage athletes, but in practice it denies them of opportunity, especially in our sport where regional and national competition is available.

High school soccer is already like that in Ohio. The club soccer is night and day more competitive, and by most measures, more important.

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