FNF Coaches Talk — Low Pay, Transfers Hurting HS Football, Football Coaches Are Role Models, Avoid Disabilities

You’re over the hump on a Wednesday. We’ve got a few interesting stories for you.

1. Reason for Coach Stepping Down: Low Pay, Rise of Transfers Ruining HS Sports (Cape Coral Mariner)

We don’t usually share stories of coaches stepping down because nobody really cares outside of that region.

However, this coach weighed in on on the state of high school sports following his resignation, and the feeling here is his comments are applicable to any region or program.

The background for the story is that Mariner High (Fla.) coach Travis Smith announced he was stepping down Monday during the team’s fall banquet because he’s accepted a management position where he’ll be overseeing sales and marketing for Southwest Heating and Cooling in Cape Coral.

Not his first choice, by any means, and if all things were equal, he’d stay in his position as football coach. But things are not equal.

“These selfless people spend countless hours as a coach, teacher, mentor, counselor and surrogate parent,” Smith said of his colleagues. “In addition to this responsibility, these same individuals also have a huge amount of liability put on them for student safety and accountability. This type of pressure in any other corporation would require a salary that reflects the importance of that position. However, the public-school coaches in this county and throughout the state are grossly underpaid making private schools a much more attractive alternative for compensation. This also gives the private schools a major advantage in recruiting athletes.”

That led to his thoughts on the athletic transfer epidemic happening in the state.

“Student mobility and recruiting in Southwest Florida has become almost as bad as it is on the other side of the state,” he said. “Technically, a student can play three different sports at three different schools in one school year provided he or she is enrolled there before the season begins and has not practiced that particular sport at their previous school. This is absolutely mind-boggling to me. What’s more is that the media glorifies these transfer situations when it rarely works out for the player and in many cases, it sets back their overall development. This has to be addressed immediately or we are going to end up with a generation of selfish adults who have no idea what the word loyalty means.”

What problems would cause you to leave the profession of high school football coach?

2. Sports filling in the missing pieces for boys without male role models (KOLR10)

If you like stories that reinforce the impact coaches make on your men, this is one for you.

It shows how much a student-athlete can benefit from having a positive role model in the form of a coach.

According to researchers cited in the book, “The Boy Crisis, ” young men without positive male role models have lower self-esteem, lower grades and a lower life expectancy than their peers.

KOLR10 takes a look at how sports of all things can help address these problems, and how coaches can step in to fill an important void.

“All the studies show that people are drawn to role models that look like them,” said Shem Johnson, coach at Central High School. “And so for young men to have a male authority figure in their life is really important.”

Dr. Pam Sailors teaches “Sociology of Sport” at Missouri State University. She says research shows youth sports participants score higher on mental health tests, and she says sports can teach valuable life lessons that extend far beyond the field.

“One of the most important is that winning isn’t everything, that we can’t always win,” Sailors said. “So it teaches persistence and resilience, in some ways I think that’s the most positive thing is learning how to deal with failure.”
“Failure happens, but how do you bounce back from it when it occurs, a lot of these young men or young women will be in the classroom and will be failing constantly, for whatever the reason, but those who succeed have figured out how to overcome that,” Johnson said.

How gratifying is it to see what an impact you can make on a student-athlete’s life outside of football?

3. Muscular weakness in adolescence is associated with disability 30 years later (British Journal of Sports Medicine)

The offseason is coming and that’s the perfect time to try to grow participation numbers in the program. Want a good sales pitch for a player on the fence?

Try this:

Playing football and lifting weights will help you to avoid having a physical disability later in life.

The study consisted of 1.2 million men between the ages of 16 and 19. Scientists measured knee extension, handgrip and elbow flexion strength as well as aerobic fitness.

The conclusion?

There was a strong association between muscular weakness and disability. A combination of muscular weakness and low aerobic fitness was an especially important risk factor for disability. This adds weight to call for muscular strength and fitness enhancing exercise for adolescents in all BMI categories.

What’s your sales pitch when you’re trying to convince a student at your school to play football?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk