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Why “Win At All Costs” Is a Priority…..With a New Definition | Welcome and General | ConnectedCoaches

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Rob Maaye, Sophie Tankere-Muller and 3 others like this.
 

Comments (8)

  
JonnyP

Well said.

26/03/18
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jaynecornwell

I do try to encourage good behaviour and sportsmanship. Not win at any cost

28/03/18
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LawrieOK

Hear, hear.

28/03/18
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BenjiH
Ben Heywood said:

It's interesting reading this as an ultimate frisbee coach. Our sport is self-refereed, even at the highest level, so win-at-all-costs isn't even a possible goal. Any team could win any game simply by calling spurious fouls on the opposition all the time, so the game simply doesn't work if teams ignore the spirit of the game and play to win-at-all-costs. It wouldn't be fun to win games like that, you couldn't take any pride in it; so it doesn't happen. That's not to say that some teams aren't more physical than others, or people don't sometimes breach rules in the heat of the moment. But a full win-at-all-costs attitude simply isn't possible - no one would ever play against you, and even if they did you couldn't take any pride in winning that way. By making cheating so easy that there is literally nothing to stop you winning any game you like, we end up with much LESS cheating than any other invasion sport i ever saw.

If you haven't tried ultimate, go check it out. And if you're really bored, go check out the long discussions about refereeing that are always going on in our sport. There are currently 4 different things going on, with most of the world using only the first two.

1) Most games, even at National championship level, are fully refereed by the players
2) At World Championship level, some (not all) games are assisted by Game Advisors, who provide a third party perspective on any disputes bu who cannot overrule the players. You could still disagree with your opponent and with the advisor and make any spurious foul calls you like.

And then, over in North America only:
3) The Observer system (for some games at major events). Players call their own fouls, but observers are empowered to make binding judgements. They also make some active calls (in/out of bounds etc). So players are still the only ones who stop the game for a foul, but now it is no longer possible for one person to cheat as much as they like - the observer can overrule them.
4) Referees. There is a professional league in the US with actual referees (and some inevitable rule changes to make it work). This is not yet the highest level of ultimate, and many top club players don't participate, but it inevitably has significant reach in the media etc

There is constant chat about all these options, and some really good case studies about what win at all costs might mean, what spirit of the game really is, and how sports can work differently. The biggest thing that stands out to those who see the community from the outside is the incredible respect and camaraderie between teams - without referees, both teams have to have a basic respect for the other, and to believe that they aren't trying to cheat, or the game won't work; and this translates into the kind of atmosphere we'd all like to see, particularly in youth sports.

29/03/18
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 · Hilary Quick likes this.
 
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robinb

Matt, your excellently argued post has hit a loud and resounding note with me, especially your question “where is the evidence of this being upheld and applied in the upper echelons of the game?”.
As an 8-year-old I fell in love with the Beautiful Game on the 30th July 1966. Some 31 years later, as a long playing career in grassroots football was coming towards its end, my 7 year-old-son’s interest drew me into youth coaching. Another 21 seasons later I now find that grassroots football is no longer the game that I got so much enjoyment from over those many decades. At the end of this season I have announced that I will step down from coaching 4-6 year olds and mentoring new coaches.
My experience as a spectator has brought me to this water-shed. The way that grassroots football is administered, managed, coached, officiated and played takes away all possible enjoyment for the spectator who wants to watch the game itself. Indeed it goes beyond the dominance of the win-at-all-costs mentality: many participants are not interested in the result. They just want to have their fill of aggro – physical as well as verbal – and if their intimidation of opposition and officials also produces a win – that is the bonus that further goes to justify their behaviour. I hear horror stories from other youth coaches, but my first-hand experience is with adult football in the county league premier division. For example, a player told a referee that he was going to punch his opponent AGAIN, only for the referee to ask him not to, and leave the actual punch unpunished except for the award of a free kick. In the same game a club linesman was allowed to officiate whilst openly smoking cannabis. When these and other incidents in that game were reported to a league committee member, his off-the-record response was that “you have to expect these things when playing against that club”. Go figure!
Once I realised that my enjoyment of grassroots football has been destroyed by the behaviour of its participants and the lack of desire from administrators to address the demise of their sport, I could only conclude that my continued participation as a coach who espouses the ‘Paul Scholes’ style of winning to launch children and their parents into the game would be nothing short of hypocritical. The game that I have been so passionate about for five decades no longer exists, so I cannot pretend with new participants that it will be different.
So as of this summer, my Saturday mornings are free. I have already changed my Saturday afternoons away from watching football, and I feel much happier for doing so. Some weekends I have switched to watching rugby union (I never thought I would ever say that!). I might not understand the finer points of the game but clearly ‘the game’ and sportsmanship are the only things that matter. Therefore there is nothing about the experience of being there that can spoil the spectator’s experience.
As for coaching – all is not lost – I can close on a truly positive note. I will still be coaching the Beautiful Game by maintaining my role with a pan-disability group. In fact, I want to expand our Club’s provision from the current teenage group to start a pre-teen session. How do I square this with my conscience? Easy.
All that has destroyed the game itself in grassroots football is absent from this sector. Winning doesn’t matter at all: only participation is important. Coaching takes on a real meaning when it hugely enriches that quality of life of its participants. Even though I should be thinking about retirement now I am in my 60s, I will find it very hard to walk away from that.

01/04/18
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robinb

Reading that back, I should have started the last paragraph: All that has destroyed the SPORT itself in grassroots football is absent from this sector.

02/04/18
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mwthompson
Matt Thompson said:

Robin, apologies for delay in response. Glad it seems to have resonated and disappointed to hear of your negative experiences and enjoyment has got to the point it has. Depending on where you’re based (Cricket takes us all over the country) I wonder if a conversation could bring you back?!

20/04/18
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robinb

Matt, thanks for the concern. My main point was that "win at any cost" in grassroots football has been allowed by its participants, officials and administrators - and, yes, coaches - to pay the ultimate cost and destroy a sport. I will not be the only 'good guy' to walk away, but I will be one of a very small minority to say anything about it in public - most will just go, leaving the thugs, bullies, and yobs to slug it out. My other point was that the coaching instinct does not go away, and will survive strong where the sport is still a sport and is bringing a real benefit to its participants. Hence I will still be working with a disabled participant group and even looking to expand the age groups to which our club offers this service. As to switching sports ... I can't see that happening as a coach, but as a spectator I am enjoying the experience of rugby union, watching my son (a good footballer - captained the county league reps team this season), who, at 28, is switching sports as a player for all the same reasons that I listed about my disenchantment with grassroots football. I have been to a handful of games and there is still a lot I just don't understand about the game, but absolutely nothing has happened to spoil my Saturday afternoon. I'm afraid cricket won't get a look-in for me - an experience at school 47 years ago put me off, but that's another (amusing) story, suffice to say that I went out on a high, scoring a winning run off the last ball of the match! :-)

25/04/18
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