No, It’s Not Alright for My Coach to Assault Me
It doesn’t make a difference if your child is attending practice at a club, private academy or school. The vast majority of Egyptian coaches believe verbal and physical assault is an integral part of teaching children the skill of any sport be it football, gymnastics, swimming or martial arts. Their mind set stipulates that the more strict, harsh or unforgiving they are, the better results they should expect out of the poor children. They give themselves the right to humiliate and mock the underachievers in front of their team mates without realizing that this might actually hinder their progress or make them lose interest in the sport altogether.
Swim coaches, for instance, scream at the top of their lungs across the pool name calling the kids who fail to meet the target time for a 50 meter butterfly drill. They can go as far as hitting the kids with their flippers or swim boards on the head or the shoulder! I’ve seen coaches twist the kids’ arms so badly, almost breaking them, just to get them to master the back stroke! Diving coaches spank the junior divers using the small wet diving towel for a leash. Gymnastics coaches, known to be the roughest, revert to butt smacks as a common code of conduct when the young gymnasts fail to land smoothly off the beam.
The sad part is, many Egyptian mothers are okay with this ill ideology. They believe their children need cruel discipline to excel at sports. Some of them don’t even flinch when their young ones are subjected to verbal or physical humiliation from their coaches. I once went up to a mother thinking she was not aware that her boy had just been brutally hit by the assistant coach during football practice. To my surprise and dismay, the lady was fully aware of the situation and indirectly told me that it was none of my business!! She went on to explain that it was her child’s fault for being inattentive, that it was part of toughening him up.
“Manning up” is the exact words she used.
Children too have come to accept the demeaning and condescending behavior of their coaches. They don’t appear to be upset or annoyed at the continuous yelling and lashing out of their coaches. It has become matter of factish to be disrespected and verbally abused. Words like “idiot”, “slow poke” and “fatso” are the norm. Even physical abuse is disregarded by the children except when coaches really flip and slap them brutally on their backs, shoulder or across the cheeks. Such behavior led Egyptian kids to lose their self-worth and self-respect and they will probably continue to do the same as adults. It will be alright to be subjected to humiliation from their boss at work and amongst their peers if they fail to meet targets or deadlines.
Are these Egyptian coaches certified to be sports’ trainers of young children? Doubtful they even have a physical education degree. It would be beneficiary to attend “Train the Trainer” workshops and seminars. Coaches need to study child psychology in order to understand how to entice the young athletes. They have to understand that the reinforcement of positive behavior will render the good results they expect of the children. Continuous encouragement, gratitude and incentives will bring out the best of their abilities. Whereas continuous putting down will result in the exact opposite.
As a mother, I would much rather end up with a well-rounded child who’s not the star of any sport rather than an unconfident insecure champion who has self-esteem issues. It’s much easier to raise a happy healthy child than to fix a broken adult later. I wish more Egyptian mothers and coaches shared the same opinion. I have taught my kids that it is unacceptable for any adult to physically or verbally assault them. They know they can politely stand up for themselves, explaining that they need to be treated with respect in order to perform during practice, otherwise, it’s more dignifying to excuse themselves.
No, it’s not alright for their coach to assault them…..
A mother of three, Amina is a committed copyeditor and writer with hands-on experience. Amina’s writings are driven from real life situations, events and incidents and are directly related to the modern women and mothers of today’s fast changing and challenging world.