Parents driving GBHS coaches towards quitting 


Savannah Smith, Staff Writer

   “Coaches at Gulf Breeze High School coach for the money and the fame.” … said no coach ever. I interviewed multiple coaches at GBHS and asked them what they love about coaching. Volleyball coach, Coach Jasmine, said she continues to Coach at Gulf Breeze because of, “the players and the culture.” She continued, “I take great pride in the atmosphere and culture of GBHS​…. The players have set such a high standard of class, highly academically driven, top contenders in the state each year as well as being great people.”  

   I also asked the coaches what frustrates them as a coach that would make them want to quit. I found a common denominator of all the coaches’ responses: parents. This makes sense as to why a few of the coaches I spoke to asked to stay off the record or anonymous since Karens read the school newspaper.  

   I asked coaches that are parents too if they have experienced a bad parenting situation on a team that affected how they chose to parent their child. The response that stuck with me the most was shared by an anonymous source: “Parents would rather lose a state championship game as long as their child gets play time.” Another source said, “it blows my mind that people complain about play time while playing on a team sport. Meanwhile, the team is successful as a whole.” 

 Coach Jasmine’s takeaway from experiencing parents at GBHS is that when her daughter plays a sport, she plans to remind herself that her daughter is “on a team sport; it’s not about her. She will have a role.” Whether that role is being a great cheerleader or to never come off the court, we need to teach players that their first role is being a member of a team and what those entails. I myself have seen some of the most elite soccer being played just to walk to the cars after the game and see the parents scream at those same kids.  

   At the end of the day, this is just a high school sport. According to League, a statistics site, “roughly 853 players (0.00075%) make the pros each year out of an original population of nearly 1.1 million high school athletes.” It’s time to re-evaluate getting someone fired over playtime if your kid probably won’t even play in college.  

   Former Varsity football coach and flag football coach, Coach Cook, said, “At an alarmingly sad rate, parents ruin the game for the coaches and the kids…. It should be about supporting the experience of the player.” Parenting and coaching kids in this way leads them to feel like nothing is ever enough, and this unattainable success is what ultimately drives many players from the game.  

  I realize that the parents are not the only reason our coaches quit. Mr. Matthews said a reason he doesn’t coach anymore is because it was “time consuming.” He explained that there would be multiple nights his teaching schedule in addition to his coaching schedule forced him to get up at 5am and get home at 12am.  

   Another reason coaches leave is due to the FHSAA, the Florida High School Athletic Association. Coach Cook stated, “The problem with the FHSAA is they take money from us and they dictate everything about how we can run the sports they dictate how we play… a lot of state organizations do a better job of fairness… they don’t help us, they control us.” Coach Jasmine explained that they control her during volleyball tryouts by not allowing tryouts until early August. She explains this issue: “85/90 girls attend summer stuff and we only end up taking 36-40… so just knowing that half of the girls are putting in so much time in the summer to not make it crushes my heart.”  

   I have played multiple high school sports on both the JV and the Varsity level at GBHS and other schools. I have also coached soccer for the past 3 years. I have been on both sides of this discussion. I have great memories and not-so-great memories from being a part of a team at this school. I will forever have much gratitude and respect for certain coaches at this school. That being said, there are multiple things that this school can do better for our coaches, and we can start with parenting.