The sport does not matter. It can be girls tennis, boys soccer, volleyball or football. If you stand around on the sideline waiting for a coach to invite you into a practice session, you’re likely not going to get many looks.
It’s that simple.
I’ve spent the last week canvassing area football practices, and other than the predictable coaching commands to hustle on and off the field, the most common thread to nearly every workout is athletes, with helmets in hand, not jumping in for reps.
That results in perplexed coaches pleading for and/or encouraging voluntary participation. They shouldn’t have to, guys. Get with it.
The question, “Why do I have to keep asking you to come on the field?” or the phrase “Don’t just stand there, jump in” was heard repeatedly across Elkhart County. I even witnessed one player — won’t name the kid or the school — who was summoned by an assistant and asked about getting some exposure to a new position.
"I’m not feeling it,” was the response from the player, who then turned and walked back to the sideline.
Don’t feel it. That’s a good call. Maybe you’ll like the feel of that aluminum bench pressed against your butt on Friday nights instead.
Stand there and watch. Be afraid to jump on the field and bump out a teammate for a couple of plays or hold out for the position you think you deserve. Hope that you’ll get better at blocking or become more in tune with linebacker coverage by planting your cleats in the practice field grass while others work.
Fifteen kids should be in huddles so coaches can toss out four to make 11. They shouldn’t be waiting for two players to trot onto the field to get a full defensive scout team.
Get in the game or the game will leave you behind. Every day, every session and every snap is an opportunity. Take advantage of them.
And parents wonder why a child isn’t starting or isn’t playing a contributing role.
Speaking of being in the game, I also took note of coaching headwear choices this week. I’m always looking for a good fashion statement. So far, this is a year full of floppy hats and visors.
Personally, I don’t care for either. Visors tend to burn my balding scalp and floppy hats make me look like I should be mowing lawns.
Tim Dawson sported a nice straw hat at Concord on Friday. Bill Roggeman at Elkhart Memorial, Levon Johnson at Elkhart Central and Bob Miller at Fairfield opted for wide brims this week as well when I was on campus.
The visor looks came from Kyle Park at Goshen at NorthWood’s Nate Andrews. At Jimtown, Mike Campbell donned a hat suitable for a 10K run.
Very stylish collection of coaches we have in Elkhart County.
Bill Beck is the Elkhart Truth sports editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @eTruthsports