Crunch time never ends for coaches | Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is running a terrific series on changes that have impacted high school sports. While they’re featuring local Minneapolis-area coaches, this certainly applies across the country. This is well worth your time to read. Here are the links to the entire series:

After seeking input from coaches, the Star Tribune spent the summer examining some of the most profound changes affecting high school sports in the metro area. What we found reflects the growing influence of year-round youth sports, where seasons and training never seem to let up.

Part 1:  Year-round sports push kids to limit

Part 2:  Club teams become the price of admission to youth sports

Part 3:  Crunch time never ends for coaches

Coaches survey:  A summary of responses from about 140 coaches.

By  Star Tribune

The e-mails from angry parents come faster and more often that any time in his 25 years as a high school coach, sometimes waiting for Carl Pierson by the time he arrives home from a game.

Each time it happens, the Waconia girls’ basketball coach knows a long night is about to get even longer.

After he enters statistics, uploads and edits game film and creates a scouting report for the next day’s practice, Pierson faces a choice: Take the time to carefully craft and send a response, or put it off until morning and endure a lousy night of sleep dreading the thought of hard feelings festering with a parent and their player.

Coaching a varsity team has never been an easy job, but it’s become even more challenging amid often-outsized expectations for prep players.

Year-round training of young athletes has raised the skill level and overall quality of Minnesota high school sports. But the proliferation of elite teams, development camps, and club programs also means the high school team may not be the most important one in the eyes of today’s high school athletes — or their parents. Nor is Pierson the only coaching voice that his athletes are hearing or trying to listen to.

When expectations aren’t met, parents blame the high school coaches — whose work now extends well-beyond a season’s start and end — and even push for their ouster.

“There’s certainly more of an expectation from parents that their child makes varsity and becomes a starter because they were on an elite or select team and told they were going to be a Division I scholarship player,” said Pierson, who has worked in South Dakota, Red Wing and Champlin Park. “They’ll say, ‘So he or she needs to start, or we’re going to go somewhere else.’

“We have to recruit our own kids,’’ he said. “That dynamic didn’t exist 15 years ago.”

Read the entire article at

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