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What message?


Socrates
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In light of the thread about certain school refusing to play other schools, I'd like to pose the following questions for thoughtful response:

 

What message does a coach send to his players and program supporters, when the coach refuses to play strong programs?

 

Is the message that he knows he will lose and sees more value in a cheap win over the benefit of a weakness exposing loss?

 

Is it the message that he has no confidence in his kids?

 

Is it the message that he's concerned that if he loses often to those schools that some younger kids will notice and attend those schools (if nearby) instead of his school?

 

I remember reading a newspaper article last fall quoting a coach (I'm not sure which coach it was or who they even had played) after a playoff game who said something to the effect of: we knew going in that we didn't really have a chance in this game, but we knew that our program would benefit greatly from playing them as it will make our younger kids realize what it takes to be a really good program. I remember thinking to myself: that coach has if figured out.

 

Isn't that logic applicable to regular season games?

 

What is the message(s) that a coach sends when his players and program supporters know that the coach is ducking certain programs?

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I think that in order to properly answer the question, once has to consider the specific reason why a program "refuses" to schedule a game against another program.

 

If a school will not schedule an opponent for fear that the game would be a certain loss, then this is quite a bit different than a school refusing to schedule an opponent because the leaders of that program/school strongly feel that the other program is recruiting, cheating or doing something else unethical. In this scenario, it's more like a boycott kind of thing.

 

For me, I don't see too much utility in "boycotting" a program. If there are problems, go to the KHSAA and let them enforce the rules... don't go enforcing your own interpretation of the rules by boycotting teams.

 

There are pros and cons to a team scheduling a game against another team that is certain to beat them. On the pro side, it gives your players and team something to aspire to and provides a good measuring stick for where you are... on the con side it could affect player morale if the loss is really bad (plus, in some situations where the disparity in physical strength and depth is great, there is also a concern for physical safety).

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Socrates, I think every reason you stated has probably applied to a school at some point if they refuse to play another school, it is on a case by case scenario. Throw in the fact that if two coaches don't get along at all they will probably not play because there has to be interaction amongst them to get the game setup.

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This reminds me of when I was the head middle school coach. I took over a program that hadn't finished a season in two years. We went on to win our conference undefeated for two years. When I went to redo the schedule for the third year one of the conference teams refused to schedule us. The second year we beat them we only had 17 players and he told me we were getting to big and needed to play bigger teams. This was from a small private school in Louisville. Now that's a lame excuse for not playing someone.

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I think that in order to properly answer the question, once has to consider the specific reason why a program "refuses" to schedule a game against another program.

 

If a school will not schedule an opponent for fear that the game would be a certain loss, then this is quite a bit different than a school refusing to schedule an opponent because the leaders of that program/school strongly feel that the other program is recruiting, cheating or doing something else unethical. In this scenario, it's more like a boycott kind of thing.

 

For me, I don't see too much utility in "boycotting" a program. If there are problems, go to the KHSAA and let them enforce the rules... don't go enforcing your own interpretation of the rules by boycotting teams.

 

There are pros and cons to a team scheduling a game against another team that is certain to beat them. On the pro side, it gives your players and team something to aspire to and provides a good measuring stick for where you are... on the con side it could affect player morale if the loss is really bad (plus, in some situations where the disparity in physical strength and depth is great, there is also a concern for physical safety).

 

I agree with most of your post. But I've never really understood the adverse affect on player morale if the loss is real bad logic. To me, the head coach of the losing team can make sure that it doesn't adversely affect morale.

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Guest Bluto
Look at Socrates getting philosophical! :D

 

Hemlock, anyone?

 

 

 

 

(sorry to steal your line, Socrates!)

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Sometimes the refusal to play other schools has nothing to do with feeling they will lose but for some other reason between coaches. I know for a fact that Corbin plays a strong schedule year in and year out. We are not afraid to play anyone. The thing with Bell County has nothing to do with feeling like we would lose. They are a strong team and would be great competition we welcome the opportunity to play bigger schools with good programs. (We played Dunbar (6A) last year and won.) I sometimes just think it is a case of coaches personalities clashing. . . for whatever reason.

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Not playing a school happens for various reasons, not all of which are dealing with not wanting to play a team. We all hear the rumors: School so and so will not play us, but what is the real reason? Sometimes making a schedule is complicated, I have done it, it is not always just calling and asking someone to play you.

 

It comes down to does both teams need a home game, or does both teams need an away game, what dates are available, and level of competition can be a factor. If a small school is expecting a down year this year, they are not going to schedule a large power house team. But, next year that small school may anticipate a strong team and be willing to play the bigger power house team.

 

Also, you have to consider, all district games have to be played, and some teams also play in separate conferences, that may only leave one or two games left to play. You can only play so many teams in football.

 

Then you of course have the personalities involved, some coaches will not play some teams that are coached by some people because of past events. It happens.

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I agree with most of your post. But I've never really understood the adverse affect on player morale if the loss is real bad logic. To me, the head coach of the losing team can make sure that it doesn't adversely affect morale.

 

To some extent I agree. But there is certainly something to be said for having success and building upon that success. I don't think anyone would say that losing to Elder by 50 would be better for their program (especially one not as established as say Highlands) than beating a 1A school. It is awful hard to get kids to buy into a system without some measure of success. Hard to say which is more important, getting kids to buy into the program or the lessons learned from playing a successful football team.

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Getting the kids to buy into what you're trying to do is the biggest factor, other than talent. LN obviously hasn't been on the bad end of a 68-14 or 56-0 thrashing. Too many of those and you can completely lose a team.

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I've seen this done a few times in the last 20 years involving Boyle County.

 

When Chuck Smith arrived he soon realized that Lincoln's program was far beyond what he could do in those first few years at Boyle. So he dropped them from the schedule because they were in AAA and he was looking to build a competing program in AA. I think the strategy worked some. :D

 

I also saw when Boyle's program rose to it's height and Harrodsburg's descended in Class A the Pioneers decided to drop Boyle from their schedule because of the competition factor. By then Boyle was in AAA and Harrodsburg's depth was sorely limited.

 

I recall that for years in the 70's the Rebels would not play Somerset even though they shared the same district. I heard a lot of reasons and things but I never knew how much was just "one side of the story." The District was always decided by the Dickinson Point system every year. They started playing one another when the KHSAA mandated in '79 that every district team had to play the other district teams.

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Getting the kids to buy into what you're trying to do is the biggest factor, other than talent. LN obviously hasn't been on the bad end of a 68-14 or 56-0 thrashing. Too many of those and you can completely lose a team.

 

 

You may be right about too many of them losing a team. But scheduling a couple of stetch games a year I don't think is too many of them. Playing patsies and winning 50-0 accomplishes nothing other than inflating players and coaches opinions of the quality of their team. It doesn't challenge them; it doesn't expose weaknesses that can then be improved and it doesn't show them what a really, really good football team looks like.

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You may be right about too many of them losing a team. But scheduling a couple of stetch games a year I don't think is too many of them. Playing patsies and winning 50-0 accomplishes nothing other than inflating players and coaches opinions of the quality of their team. It doesn't challenge them; it doesn't expose weaknesses that can then be improved and it doesn't show them what a really, really good football team looks like.

 

So what does the team that beats me 60-0 get out of scheduling me?:D

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