Yet another modified basketball game, and yet another example of what needs to be fixed in youth sports. In the grand scheme of things, it was one more meaningless game. Boys were playing basketball to have fun. They are not at home playing X-box or on their phones texting or staring at the computer. Both coaches were mindful of their players' playing time, their enjoyment in participating on a team, and just having fun.
  I purposefully sat close to the benches during the first half. I listened to the coaches talk to their players and everything was fine. The players were being rotated in as the rules dictated and the coaches, for the most part, were positive. It's modified so it's not very good basketball skill wise, but it was competitive and fun. I kept track of the shooting percentage, how many shots were taken, and how many foul shots were made. Without going into extensive details, the shooting percentage was 24% from the field, and 50% from the free throw line, with the help of one particular boy who made 4 in a row at the end of the game.
    I went over to where the parents were sitting and I received an education in parent/spectator coaching. Let's go team by team. The first team's parents made sure they were either in the front row or far enough away from the other parents so their kid could have a clear view to them on the sideline. Yes, the parents had a strategy as to where they sat and how they could interact with their child on the court or sitting on the bench. One dad repeatedly gave his child instructions whenever the child got close to the dad on the sideline. A mom continuously told her son what to do while he was playing, without any consideration for what the coach wanted the players to do as a team on the court.
     The second team's parents were worse. One dad took credit for a child getting a rebound. He told the player (who was not his son) that the ball would come to him off the free throw line. It did not. It went to the other side. However, like kids do, most of the players watched the trajectory of the ball as it hit the rim and bounced way away, all before anyone moved. It was hilarious. As the player went to the bench the father yelled to him and to everyone around him in the stands that he called the play. Of course he did not. The player's reaction was great. He completely ignored the parent trying to get his attention, and when he sat down on the bench, he looked up, shook his head in disgust, and started talking to his friends on the team. The mom in the stands was even worse. She was jumping up and down shouting at the refs, saying they didn't give her team any calls, right before they got a foul called on the other team. She yelled after a 3 point shot was made, demanding to know why the refs didn't count it. Of course, there are no three point shots in modified basketball. The school's supervisor had to go sit next to the parents to settle them down
      At the end of the game, I went over to stand near where the players left to go to the locker room. I pretended to get a drink of water from the fountain as I listened to the boys' reaction. They talked about the game for a couple of minutes before the subject was dropped and they wanted to eat.
     Let me state the problems that are present, and will continue on to non-basketball related endeavors. No one can multitask. The parents that are yelling or signaling instructions to the children only serves to confuse them. "COME ON! LET'S GO!" is overused and only shows parent frustrations. Parents, think of your own job. When you are frustrated, do you want someone yelling instructions at you while you are trying to do your job? Butting in, which is what the parents were doing, teaches the kids that its OK for them to stick their noses in to other people's business. It also tells them that it is OK to not follow the rules. Finally, and there never really is a finally, it teaches the kids that the expectations of others is more important than the enjoyment they are having playing a sport.  It sets an example for them that it is OK to yell, scream, criticize, and misbehave if things don't go your way. Watch how it comes back to haunt those people when the kids start to mimic the parents' behavior in real life.