INNOVATIONS IN SPORTS: Why not Let the Kids Coach the Kids?
An amazing story just came out of San Clemente CA. Apparently there was a team of 11-and 12-year-olds in that town’s Little League that, for some reason, had a difficult team in finding a Dad or Mom to help out as the team’s coach.
As a result, when the kids couldn’t find one, they asked the league officials if a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old could be named as co-coaches to lead the team. The league said yes.
The LL team lost their first two games of the season, but as the season wore on, they found their groove and began to turn things around. Sure enough, they ended up winning their league championship, all under the coaching supervision of a couple of kids who weren’t much older than they were.
It’s a cute story. But to me, this shift toward allowing kids to coach kids might be worth considering as a major innovation in youth sports. Look, we all know and have seen the out-of-control grown-ups who coach LL games and get in shouting contests with umpires, use profanity, show favoritism to their own kids, and basically adopt a win-at-all-costs mentality.
According to media reports, the LLers on this team enjoyed playing for the HS freshmen, because 1) they communicated better 2) they allowed the kids to play the positions they wanted to play, and 3) the kids weren’t intimidated by them. Too often, LLers are fearful of talking with a grown-up coach.
Bottom line? Not only did the LLers seemingly have more fun, but they also ended up as league champions. And their youthful co-coaches are to be commended.
If I’m Little League or the people who run other youth sports teams, I think this is an idea that is definitely worth considering. In short, just tell the parents to go and sit up in the stands. Let the kids play, and let them be coached… by other kids!