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What were the Dragons thinking???

I coached for the Gloucester Dragons for a number of years. Eight, to be exact.

I can only say that things must have changed in the league since I left a few years ago. The Dragons used to have a committed and sensible Executive – focused on teaching kids about the beautiful game, sportsmanship and on fostering a competitive spirit.

But, as covered heavily in the national media, the league has done a very, very silly thing.

From the League Handbook:

Scoring Limit
Respect your opponent: do not run up the score.
To prevent running up the score, a five-goal differential is the maximum allowed.
If at the end of a game there is more than a 5 goal difference in the score, the team that scored over 5 goals will have the results recorded as a loss when the game is recorded at the office.
Strategies coaches can use to avoid this problem include:
• Rotating players into other than normal positions;
• Passing the ball a number of times prior to a shot on goal;
• Kicking with the weaker foot;
• Reducing the number of players on the field;
• Kick at net only from outside the penalty box.

All for the “Strategies coaches can use…” part of this. If you are matched against a much weaker opponent, a good coach will employ these strategies. Put the strong kids in the backfield and put the weaker one up front and in the midfield. It usually works to curb embarrassing scores.

But no, some parent or parents have gotten their knickers in knots cuz little Jimmy or Jenny got upset because their side was blown out 12 – zip or something.

Well, OK, the winning coach did not do their job. Fine. But kids, life is about losing badly as well as winning gloriously. Better get used to that.

But from a sports perspective, coaches should not ever teach players how NOT to win. Seriously. I was never trained to do this. Instead, I was taught to use those techniques outlined above. Ain’t rocket science, really.

Do we want the players of a stronger side to spend the second half – up 4-0, to kick the ball into touch whenever they had possession?

THIS is coaching????

C’mon Dragons – reverse this silly policy – and now!


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  1. XUP says:

    Mediocrity is pretty much Canada’ s motto as far as I can tell. We’re afraid to take the lead. We’re afraid to reward those who excel (so they move to the US). We like to be OKAY. That’s why that whole Olympic thing was so bloody strange

  2. Ken says:

    The lesson they’re learning is: If you’re not good enough, change the rules, and then you are good enough.

    Here’s a perfect example: A family friend is in a church choir downtown. The choir just competed in a contest sponsored by CBC. The choir won the contest. They are not allowed to compete again until sometime in 2013 or 2015 (depending on scheduling & the contest is only run every couple of years) because the contest organizers have a rule: If you won last time, you can’t compete in back-to-back contests, because they want other choirs to have a shot at winning.

    The organizers don’t want one particular choir dominating the contest. Why? Because, as the friend says, they say “It’s not fair.” So instead of figuring out why one choir would dominate, and have the losers work harder and become better, they encourage mediocrity.

    He finds the rule as ridiculous as I do.

  3. gordon says:

    Any kid on a team that plays with these rules is going to learn that you’ll be punished if you’re good at what you do. It’s frankly insulting to the losing team to “have mercy” on them.

  4. That’s an abomination, but it’s the new way. It’s part of why I say that we’re raising generations of pussies one after the other.

    As far back as 1993, our house softball league had a rule that if you hit it out of the park you could only run 1 base. So if, say, you’re 6’3″ and 240 lb with a good arm and basically have a choice of bunting or hit it out of the park for a single at Brewer Park, it’s not really a motivator to play.

    Canada does, however, have a long-standing tradition of punishing the winner. Canadians have always been suspicious of success. With a rule like that though, has anyone considered what lessons the kids are learning? Lessons like:

    1. When you’re not good enough, the world owes you slack.
    2. When you’re better, you have to pretend to suck or get punished.
    3. A half-assed job is better than a job well done.
    4. Winning is not only “not everything”, it’s worse than losing.
    5. Mediocrity surpasses excellence.
    6. When you suck really badly, you can spread that suckage onto innocent people.

    I’d rather lose 348934 to 0 than lose 6-0 and know that the winning team was forced to lose the game in the standings because I wasn’t good enough to score a goal.

  5. Ken says:

    I wonder if Ottawa South United has the same rule… I’ll have to ask my daughter’s coach next week.

    Punished for winning.

    *That’s* the new world we live in…

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