Advice??? Middle School Coaching and Club Conflict

Discussion in 'General Education' started by crazygood, Feb 21, 2023.

  1. crazygood

    crazygood Rookie

    Sep 7, 2016
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    Feb 21, 2023

    I'll be as concise as possible. This is a preview of what this thread is about......"Last year we had a girl crying because she had to miss a meet to go to singing practice. She wanted to go to the meet but also did not want to get kicked out of singing. It was horrible to deal with"

    This will be my second year coaching the boys spring middle school track team. The girls coach and I have been discussing the potential (soon to be) problem of athletes missing practice for other afterschool activities, specifically the music after-school things.

    I coached high school baseball years ago. Attendance was never an issue. Students knew to attend practice (or let me know the emergency for missing) or risk missing the games or losing their position. I would be flexible if there were occasional school events that students had to attend.

    For my middle school track team, I want it to be viewed as a legit sport (which many people do not see it as maybe b/c there are no tryouts). I also don't want middle school students to have to "choose" what they want to do.

    There are a decent amount of girl and boy runners signed up to run this spring who are also in Jazz Band (afterschool every Tuesday) Honors band (every Wednesday) Encores (every Wednesday) and Harmonies (every Monday)

    Those 4 clubs each have the requirement that you can only miss one practice or you are out of the club. These are clubs that have "tryouts" and regardless, I view every sport or club as important.

    So this means any runners who do these activities will be missing at least one practice a week (and sometimes 2 b/c some kids do multiple of these). That is not a good for team cohesion lol. I mean, I am pretty flexible (i was last year) but its crazy when you have 4 kids miss this day and 3 kids miss that sprint workout and etc. etc. Some of the kids are very diligent, especially when they know they miss practice. They work extra hard to make up the days every week they miss. Some kids it feel like they are never at practice. And then the kids who are there everyday are basically like "wtf where is the team? why am I working my butt off"

    In conclusion.... ---Should I be the one to "give in" and basically let these kids miss practice and stay on the team? Just reinforce the idea that "well, its only track, who cares". What about the kids who show up to every practice? It really throws off the girls and guys squad with so much and such consistent missing of practice for these programs. --- Or should I also dig my heels in like the music program and set a limit that only 1 practice can be missed or you are off the team? Then the kids will have to pick.
    Last year we had a girl crying because she had to miss a meet to go to singing practice. She wanted to go to the meet but also did not want to get kicked out of singing. It was horrible to deal with, my heart broke. And me and the track coach had to be the one picking up the pieces and helping her through it
  3. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

    Jul 26, 2013
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    Feb 22, 2023

    Interested to hear the responses, because I have some frustration over a very similar situation today. I have emailed the other teacher involved, asking for a compromise where he still gets the best of it. I am waiting for a response, but from my past interactions I am not too hopeful. Will be interested to see how others answer your question.
  4. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Cohort

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Feb 22, 2023

    It's a no-win situation, but you have to be the one to give. As someone who both is a music teacher in charge of an ensemble AND a youth sports official, music *needs* the kids in rehearsal. Ensembles are truly a "team sport" where there is no bench. If some students are missing rehearsals on an ongoing basis, it damages the entire group. A child can do conditioning work on their own, but they can't figure out how loud they need to play to balance the sound by themselves. Track is more or less an individual sport. Other than team-level qualifications like cross country or relay, one person's performance does not hinder another's.
    That said, I think that it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for exceptions for meets as long as they're not the rehearsal immediately before a concert. I think it would also be reasonable to restrict the music kids to individual events, assuming you have a large enough roster to be able to do that.

    I remember an unfortunate conflict in 8th grade where the state track meet was the same day as our band competition. Our trumpet soloist ended up going to the meet, leaving us with our second chair filling in with much less prep time. We beat everyone except one high school and we kind of wondered if we wouldn't have won it all if our original soloist was there.
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

    Oct 25, 2005
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    Feb 23, 2023

    No matter what you choose, someone will be mad. I coached the academic team for years, and there were always conflicts of some kind. Sometimes kids just have to choose.

    I allowed kids to miss academic practice for other things, but they knew that meant they weren’t my first choice for matches.

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