The last thing I want to do as head coach is say, “You’re fired” to unpaid assistant coaches. But, it comes with the job description of head coach.
The first time I had to use that statement was five minutes after my rookie season ended s high school head coach. Our team filed into the locker room after a 42-8 loss, ending a nightmare winless season. One of our assistant coaches stood at the doorway of our locker room and greeted a number of our players with the C-word – “Chickenshit.”
Fired. On the spot. Anyone who threatens player safety is fired on the spot. First offence, no second chances, no exceptions. Zero tolerance. Player safety includes physical and psychological health & welfare. Using the C-words of chickenshit or coward is strictly prohibited because of the potential psychological harm that those words cause.
In my opinion:
- Chickenshit and coward are vile, disgusting hate words.
- You can’t get more insulting that attacking a person’s courage especially publicly in front of peers.
- Chickenshit and coward are exclusively intended to degrade and humiliate. There is no upside to calling a student-athlete chickenshit and coward. No benefit whatsoever. Zero value, 100% negative.
- Using chickenshit and coward toward your players is a manifestation of cowardice because: (a) no student-athlete who has the courage to face the challenges of a high-risk sport should ever suffer the indignation of being called chickenshit and coward. They’ve shown their courage the moment they try out for your team. (b) it’s the irresponsible way out of admitting that you can’t coach worth a damn.
- Using chickenshit and coward will cause psychological scars. Period. That’s my opinion now and forever. No one will ever change it.
This incident prompted me to write a policy that I give to assistant coaches that specify every player safety issue – physical and psychological – that will result in immediate firing for even the first offence. I define each one in concrete language to prevent ambiguity. Any coach who doesn’t like the policy can exercise free will and coach somewhere else. Using chickenshit and coward is just one fireable offence. There are more.
Coaching student-athletes is a privilege, not a right. Coaching is an honour/honor, not an entitlement. We who have been blessed to have the title ‘coach’ have been given the responsibility to care for other peoples’ children. That’s a Sacred Obligation. It takes courage to do the right thing all the time to protect someone else’s family, both physically and psychologically. When you sign up to coach, you are signing up to fight for your team with the exact same passion as you would fight for your own family.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
head coach- Robert Bateman High School – GO WILD.
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com and www.swatfootball.ca His books include: 4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur . He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in the spring of 2014. And later this month, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.”