Monday, January 27, 2020
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Dear Tom Kuyper


Thanks for your well-thought-out and well-written articles. I appreciate the fact that you address the issue without sugar coating it or rationalizing it (re: kids and their parents obsessed with their kid’s baseball and baseball stats). I have seen this with basketball and volleyball also…very similar traits.


I ref a lot of Basketball at levels from Elem to HS Varsity, and the weekend warrior parents and coaches at those weekend tournaments of travelling all-star teams are the WORST BAR NONE… incredible to go into details of the fervor and overbearing elements…  beyond crazy at times, and even at the 3rd and 4th grade levels. I used to do it for “the love of the game” but that is getting harder


I also ref a lot of summer tourneys where it is SCHOOL teams,

J V or Varsity and the coach might be there too (or an assistant coach or parent filling in) and those tourneys are fine for the most part…  kids are there for fun and improvement and to see their buddies and to get a “workout in”.



It’s the traveling elite all star teams that get me. It’s almost like the parents are figuring “hey, I am spending a lot of $$$$$ on camps and team fees and travelling and etc” so that amps up the intensity and entitlement or something. LOTS of yelling and screaming at those deals.


Richard in New York



Thank you Richard. I was talking with one of my club basketball coaches just the other day and he was telling me that he was an umpire once for a local baseball league. (He is one the nicest, and most honest men you will ever meet.)


“I was refereeing these games because I needed a little extra weekend spending cash, but I decided to stop because of the parents’ behavior. They accused me of showing favoritism and cheating and said really mean things to me. The truth is, I never cared who won. As a matter of fact, many of the games I didn’t even know who was playing and/or their record or position in the standings. I just went to umpire the games, that’s it. But because the parents were so hurtful to me, I decided to stop. I don’t need that in my life.”


Bummer for that league! You couldn’t find a better man, and they ran him off.


Too many times parents and/or coaches look for someone to blame for their loss or for a bad season.  What a terrible message to send the kids.  Taking responsibility and adjusting with different officials is where a player grows in his game and in character.


I have a club basketball club coach who is a former college player that just started his coaching career with me. Josh Cole learned to take his lumps as a new coach and take the responsibility for his teams’ losses.


He decided to face the truth that he was the one that was to step it up and teach and train the kids to play at a better level. He needed to own the fact that he needed to prepare his team for competition and to make sure they were getting better and were ready to play each game.


So, instead of falsely blaming the officiating, he focuses on being a better coach.

So, instead of screaming at the refs, or going off on the kids, he focuses on how to train these young athletes and to help them become better players and teammates.

So, instead of making referees quit, he became a really good coach.

So, instead of making club basketball an ugly event, he has made it all about the kids.


When every kid wants to play for him and every parent wants their kid to be on his team, you know you have a winning coach, even when they lose a game!



For questions and comments for Tom Kuyper, email him at:

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