Rewarding Development and Suing Coaches

In this episode, we continue the dialog about bad apple officials, introduce some practical ways we can be intentional about coaching character, and share a warning story about a lawsuit against a JV baseball coach that dragged on for 7 years and cost $75,000 for telling a player to slide into third base.

A pile of apples. One rotten.

More Bad Apples

A continuation fro last week's discussion, a listener writes in about his experience as a coach with a bad referee, an assistant coach's bad behavior, and parents that ultimately threatened the refs in the parking lot. This story serves to highlight the need for higher quality communication between parents, coaches, and players. When communication breaks down, assumptions get made, and feelings get hurt. 

Let's keep the dialog going! Share these shows with your community and help the rest of us keep the dialog going. 

Rewarding Development

Here are a couple of ideas you can use to help make coaching character intentional: 

  1. 3x5 cards with development goals written on them. In this case, we pass out cards to parents on the sidelines and ask them to help us track stuff that actually matters (beyond the scoreboard). Listen to the show to see where I got the idea from and how we might use it. Ages 3-18
  2. Have-a-Ball. In this idea, we purchase game balls for every game in the season. We segment the season into weekly themes. Each week, we publish the theme of the week to coaches and parents. At the end of each game, we bring coaches and players together and give the game ball to the player(s) who best represent the character subject for the week: respect week, sportsmanship week, teamwork week, empathy week, etc. Ages 9 and above. 

Suing Coaches for Coaching

The article in the resources section below is a must read. Imagine coaching as every other coach does. A player gets hurt during a game, and you spend the next 5 years + $75,000 in legal fees to ultimately secure an innocent verdict. Your crime? As a 3rd-base coach, you told a player to slide into 3rd base. The player took a bad slide and broke their ankle. That break turned bad so parents sued. 

What might this mean for youth sports in general? What might it have meant if the coach was found guilty? How manny more lawsuits would end up in court - tying up coaches and clubs for years - simply for making a call as a coach that parents didn't agree with? 

What can we do to improve communication and discourse around youth sports? 


  • Politi, Steve. “He Told a Kid to Slide. Then He Got Sued.” He Told a Kid to Slide. Then He Got Sued., 12 Nov. 2019,
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The Soccer Sidelines

Soccer Dad, Coach, and Club President who is devoted to developing kids and their families. With a diverse background in leadership in other settings, David is focused on empowering parents, players, and coaches to focus on the stuff that really matters in youth sports.