27 answers

A Question for Peewee Football Moms?

My 9yo is playing tackle football for the first time this year he has played flag football through the Upwards program and through a City program in the past but as always wanted to play tackle so we finally let him. I realize that it is football and the drills and practices are alot rougher, however, I do not feel it necessary for the coach to be so cruel and call the 3rd and 4th grade boys sissys and girls because they are not running as fast or hitting as hard as he thinks they should! He also feels they need punishment for not winning a game because he says they didn't listen to what he tells them and makes them do suicides after playing an hour or more game and usually practicing an hour before the game. I guess my question is this normal for coaches at this age or did we just get a rotten coach? My guy really doesn't want to play football anymore because all this guy does is scream and cut them down which is sad b/c he is built for it. Thanks

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My son has been playing since he was 5yrs old and he is now 13. I would not keep him on that team. Ask to switch teams. I can't stand to hear someone yelling at the players. That just gets under my skin. Good luck.


if the coach sets up a play and it fails it's his fault. if the coach sets up a play and it fails bc the kids didn't execute it's their fault, but not the end of the world!! I would pull my kid out so fast his head would spin!

You have already received great advice! I just wanted to add that if all parents would pull their kids off teams with coaches like this then it would stop. Also...I would talk to the head of whatever association this team is with and explain to them what is going on.

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Hi R.,
I am an assistant football coach for my son's 9-yr old tackle football team and I have to say that, apparently, your son's coach is caught up in his own ego, rather than helping these boys grow and mature, learn teamwork and learn the game. Unfortunately, we see this way too often at this age. You might try to visit with with the coach and get his response to your concerns. If you fail to get anywhere with the coach, or his assistants, I would petition the commissioner of the league to allow you to change teams.
I am not a "rookie" coach either - having been head coach of my two older sons (from a previous marriage) to the junior high level (they both went on to be all-district high school linebackers...so you know they had the necessary intensity) but not once did I do or say anything that might break their spirit.
As for my 9-year old's team, we do have conditioning, and do expect them to listen, but there's never any "negative motivation". We are much less about the coaches, and much more about the boys...and if you receive any feedback indicating that this "softer" approach is not reality, I might mention that we were undefeated champions of the Plano Football League last year, and undefeated champions of the Prestonwood Sports League the year before (both tackle leagues).
If you would like to visit about this, I would be happy to spend some time on the phone with you.
God bless,
Bob Sweeney

1 mom found this helpful

My son isn't in tackle yet, but if I was uncomfortable with the way the coach was running things and/or if it took the fun out of the game for my son, I think I'd speak to the coach or get on another team. I think our coach has a good balance of dicipline and positive reinforcement. For instance, the other day he ran a drill between offense and defense. If the offense got past the defense, the defense did 10 pushups. It was more of a way to combine conditioning with the added since of making the boys try really hard so they didn't have to do push ups. I know he's made people that are late run to the fence and back...again, it's 2 fold - "punishment" for being late, and a quick warm up so they don't get hurt once they start practicing. I definately think I'd consider talking to the coach and/or switching teams, as well as talking to the president of the cub that he's doing football through to make sure he doesn't get to coach anymore. If you are looking for an outside opinion, then maybe call the president of the club, state your concerns, and ask him to observe a practice.

if the coach sets up a play and it fails it's his fault. if the coach sets up a play and it fails bc the kids didn't execute it's their fault, but not the end of the world!! I would pull my kid out so fast his head would spin!

Pesonally, I don't care if it's normal, it's not right. That teaches kids so many bad habits and attitudes I would absolutely rip my kid off of that team. What I would tell your son since he isn't really liking football now that he has such a horrible mean coach is, "Why don't we just go back to flag football since it was more fun. All of this yelling just ruins the fun and it's so unneccesary that we ought to just go back to flag football so that you can have more fun playing!" See what he says. If he says he wants to keep playing then you can let him if you want. I think I would let him know however if you let him stay that the stuff that coach is saying is not true, not nice, and that the coach is probably just doing it because he doesn't know how to behave correctly. I think that I would put a complaint into the league about the coach too, mostly for the namecalling. There is not situaion in which it is okay to call 4th grade boys sissies and girls just because they aren't running fast enough or something. Boys are very delicate about their masulinity and self esteem right now and that can really cause problems. I think that I would be at every practice and every game though to make sure he is not physically worked too hard or chewed out by the coach too bad. Make sure they get rest breaks and water breaks, and most importantly, praise him after each practice and each games, 100 compliments a day to undo the mean things the coach is saying, you need to overkill with compliments to outweigh that terrible coach. Don't you feel sorry for that coach's kid?

Keep in mind that the "coach" is just another father who may or may not have a good temperment for coaching. My husband coached baseball for years and did it because he got sick of the verbally abusive coaches! Now my son-in-law is doing the same thing. Our grandson played football for 2 seasons under 2 abusive coaches. The last one actually slapped his own son right on the field when he missed a play. The ref didn't throw him out of the game, but should have. You signed your son up to be on a team. I feel he should stay on the team until the finish. Perhaps you and some of the other parents can talk as a group to this guy and get somewhere, but it's your call. But your son will face other coaches and some teachers that are not fair, so this can be a good learning experience. It certainly was for our grandson. Good luck.

No this is not normal!! My husband and I started our own youth organization last year because of things like that. Our outlook is that we are there to encourage and support our kids. I have been coaching pee wee cheerleading for 13 years and he has been coaching football for about 9 years and that is unacceptable within our group. I am not surprised that your son no longer wants to play football because i wouldn't either. However, don't let this one coach discourage you from allowing your son to try another team because there are some very good coaches out there that are concerned about building a child's confidence while teaching the game of football. I hope that helps some.

I have to agree with the person below - that although it may be "normal" and acceptable to many????!! It is NOT okay for my child or any child to be treated that way - no matter how old they are - that is not positive coaching - you don't punish kids for not winning... you assess your coaching to see where you can do better. This does not encourage kids to work harder and do better - it makes them perform out of fear of punishment and they will learn to hate football. I don't care if we are in Texas where football is "king" - not okay and I wouldn't tolerate it!

You have already received great advice! I just wanted to add that if all parents would pull their kids off teams with coaches like this then it would stop. Also...I would talk to the head of whatever association this team is with and explain to them what is going on.

No matter what the sport or the ability of the child they should NEVER use put downs or fear to motivate. Report the coach. Next time he does it, talk to some other parents and report him again. Then, pull your child. I've coached soccer for years through single adulthood and as a mom. My coaching was a ministry opportunity to show kids unconditional love and encouragement. Life is hard enough without your kids having to deal with someone else's insecurities.

I would so talk to the coach about the language he is using...but I believe the best way to deal with it is for you to use this as an example on how not to behave and why it is wrong..if your son is going to play football in middle school and high school, I gaurantee you the coaches will be cussing like crazy and at that level you can not do anything about it. He is still young enough to find another league...good luck.

I am disgusted by what you describe. That is horrible and you should report the coach and get your son off that team. Such negativity and cruelty doesn't serve to motivate! I just don't get some of these coaches, who are usually parent volunteers. While I do believe that a certain level of toughness is useful, certainly not to the extent you describe which to me is more cruelty than toughness!

My 10 year old daughter just moved to competitive soccer vs. recreational soccer. Her coach is a very tough guy, but in a very positive way. He doesn't ridcule or belittle. Sure, he sets goals and there are consequences (such as must be able to juggle the ball at least 10 times in a row, otherwise must do situps). But if they lose, there is no punishing . . . just teachable moments. He'll always let them know both what they do well and what skills they need to improve.

My son is almost 11 and has been playing sports (mostly baseball, started tackle football this year) since 2nd grade. From my experience there has always been a coach or two on every team that feels the need to yell and scream and it only gets worse as they get older. My son is serious about sports and realizes that this is probably how it will be in middle/high school so he might as well get used to it now. So, to answer your question, as sad as it may be, I think it is pretty normal!

I don't know if you're from Texas, R., but sports are a whole other level here. Parents and coaches are SERIOUS about their kids playing sports - to a fault. My boys are 5 and 7 and wanted to play football. I went to a few PeeWee Football practices before I signed them up and realized that I would be on the 6 o'clock news with my foot up a coaches behind if I let my boys play in that league. It isn't okay for any coach, at any age level to yell or belittle the players. We ended up choosing to sign them up with the YMCA in flag football. The Y also has tackle for your son's age. The coaches are all volunteer parents and usually pretty easy-going. You will always have the occasional parent that is yelling at their kid, and you feel for that kid, but at least it's not your child. All I can say it good luck to you - and I hope to God I never have to deal with a coach like your son's...keep your eye on the evening news!

Yup. You got a bad coach. Talk to the monster and tell him why you are pulling your son. He's had his chances to modify his behavior.

My son has been playing since he was 5yrs old and he is now 13. I would not keep him on that team. Ask to switch teams. I can't stand to hear someone yelling at the players. That just gets under my skin. Good luck.


I didn't see this recommendation, but I just browsed through the responses, so forgive me if it is a repeat. Many of the leagues policies forbid this type of behavior. I would first try to deal with it by making a complaint through the league. I do not think it is appropriate, but I also think your son needs to understand that there are times in life you have to deal with behavior like this. I would try to deal with the coaches inappropriate behavior in some way before just pulling him out.

In my experience it is more normal for football than for other sports, but you will get a sprinkling of coaches like that in all sports. -- I recommend taking a break from football. They play in school in middle school (in 7th and 8th grade). If he wants to pick it up in 6th, or even 5th, outside of school, then he can do it again then.

Sorry to hear you may have a lousy coach. He may have good intentions but the punishing after the game... That sounds extreme. When my boys lost games the workouts the next Monday were harder... but the rationale was that they needed more conditioning, mind training etc, they had to fix the things they did wrong. Anyway: First, talk to him after practice or before or ask him when you can talk to him. Don't let your kid quit! If the coach is not receptive, you can report him to the parent organization. There are different styles of coaching out there... some coaches are going to be rougher than others. If they are too nice, they'll never win a game. The sissy calling is is nothing that bad... it is football. If he starts attacking them personally like you are a loser or a waste product, etc, then you really need to worry about it. Encourage your son to stay part of the team and to just do his very best. The workouts are not going to be easy ever... but they will be so proud when they have accomplish it! I have had 5 sons in Pee Wee and seen all styles. The key is to resist babying your son. I know as a Mom we all feel very overprotective. Football is very rewarding and will teach your son many life lessons that will help him throughout his life. Life is not going to be easy breezy, for the best things in life you have to work hard at them to reap the benefits... So try to refocus your son on the benefits of working hard, etc. and you work on the coach on the other side. Best wishes and God bless!

Unfortunately, this type of behavior seems to be all too common in peewee football. I'm not saying that there aren't some good guys out their coaching kids, but I hear more bad stories than good. It's my opinion that kids should wait to play tackle until they are older. In our case, we are letting out oldest son play next year, because he will be a 6th grader. We want him to have a year of experience before playing in middle school. I even dread that because I'm afraid of what the coach will be like....

You got a lousy coach.

I coach my sons soccer team - ten little boys and never felt the need to call them names or punish them. I had to pull a boy out from the game because he wouldn't listen and I emphasized to him he wasn't being punished, he was being pulled out so I could talk to him and train him. He needed to listen to me and when the chance came, I put him back in and he did better.

You want your boy to love the sport and it doesn't sound like it. Maybe you can get with the parents and discuss and see what you want to do then discuss with the coach about his techniques - can't punish the kids for poor coaching. ALso, maybe he could use more help - can you volunteer and help? Lots of parents want to just sit on the sidelines but those that jump in are a God's send.

Good luck

Yes this is normal but at the middle school, high school, select level. Pee Wee? This guy is nuts. You should contact the director of the program and let them know your concerns. Normally with city programs, there is usually a policy about how long practices can be, etc. Check with the director and don't pull your son out yet. The coach should be given a chance. Winning is great...but not at the cost of any players dignity. God bless! Linda

Rotten Coach!! Has he forgotten this is PEEWEE football? Obviously he has no control over any other aspect of his life, so he feels that he can salvage his ego by pushing around 9-year olds! Report him, better yet, film his behavior, then report him and then get him on another team if you can.

We had the same experience. My son's coach screamed the entire practice. (He didn't have them do suicides after lost games, however) If I were you, I would watch some other coaches' practices and see if they react in the same way. Maybe this is how all football coaches feel they need to coach our kids...otherwise they won't listen to them! Mine quit tackle also...he doesn't get screamed at as badly in flag.

I have 2 boys 17 and 15 they have been playing since they were old enough to play. Pull your son, you got a BAD coach! He will ruin it for your son and that is not fair. Coaches do act that way but shouldn't until high school! Ugh, I hate football for this reason. I mean I love to watch my boys play but this stuff drives me nuts!

Hello, I found this true in Texas and football. We also experienced it in baseball. I feel some parents are half the problem. We moved our child to YMCA which is only flag but so much better for us. The kids have so much time before they need to hit it hard. High school and middle school is just as bad. I know we teach our kids not to give up or quite BUT I could not stand it either so I reported that coach and moved my child to another team. To me they are there to have fun at this age, some parents might like it tuff but it is not for me. I know some parents would not like the idea of moving to another team but why do this the whole season! I do know all the city teams do practice a lot but the coaches are all different. We had numerous kids come to my husbands baseball team last year indicating their kid hated baseball after having coaches like this and learned to love it. We play YMCA football and have been happy with the coaches there.

The important thing is that this coach's behaviour is discouraging your son from wanting to play. It's time to move on to a different style of coaching. I don't think that this mean behaviour is normal, but it does exist in our world. Just watch the NFL games on Sunday and you'll see all kinds of sideline behaviour. I'd say try another team. As the kid gets older, he'll develop a stomach for this kind of coaching style which will probably resurface in High School. Football players are supposed to be tough. Pee Wee is supposed to be fun!

My sons do not play competitive sports and this is one of the reasons why. They just want to have fun and are not that serious about it. Many of their friends do and unfortunately, this type of coach seems more the norm. It seems to be much harder to find supportive, uplifting coaches than the mean ones. I agree with the post that probably many of these men do this as an ego trip. It is sad, but that is the way it is. How does your husband feel about it? Did he play sports? My husband was not very athletic, but was forced to play sports growing up and he had this same type of demeaning experience.

My son's friends began playing pee wee football a few years ago at the age of nine and their coach was similar to yours. He told all of the parents that he would be yelling at the kids, because out on the field with the helmets on, that was the only way they could hear them. He was very abusive - in their face yelling insults, treated them like they were in high school training, told them they could not go trick or treating on Halloween, because they had a game the next day, etc. Most of them quit the first year and have gone to other sports. The ones that stayed with the coach were some of the better players that really LOVE football (but they still complain.) Sometimes they are meaner to the weak players to try to weed them out and sometimes they are meaner to the good ones to push them harder and ignore the weak players. This coach treated the lesser players like tackling dummies.

I think you will have to decide if he is really going to be a football star and want to continue with it on into high school. If so, then he will probably have to expect more of this type of coach. I am not sure if dropping out sends a good message to him either. (If things are touch, just quit.) I would want to monitor the practices and talk to other parents to see what they think. But I caution you from approaching the coach. My friends that talked to the mean coach did not get any change in his behavior, only to be worse to their kids. If he drops out, then at least continue the flag football, to keep up his skills. It is sad that the competition is such that you can't afford to just wait until they are older to start playing, because everyone else has been playing for years and they would be behind.

I was somewhat relieved that my kids were not into sports, because from what I can see, this type of attitude is prevalent in competitive sports.

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