Friday, July 27, 2007

Blame the coach and other fundamental problems in professional sports

Four AFL clubs have sacked their coaches after poor team perfomances so far this season. It happened in the NRL as well, with one coach walking away mid-season.

The teams are not performing. Hey, why not question the coach? Sure. He can be held responsible for the forwards not kicking goals, the defenders under-performing, no go-forward from the big men, sloppy ball handling, etc , etc.

Perhaps the organisation refuse to believe that someone they are paying $100,000 a season, in many cases more, cannot possibly under-perform. Too many articles regarding footballers of late are complaining about salary cap pressures and wages, forcing players to look to other clubs.

Here's an idea: perhaps, by doing this, and the grab for money that professional sports has become, the club administrations and competition controllers are making a rod for their own back. Clubs complain about not being able to afford high numbers of skilled, quality players to lead a team. Understandable, when they're all asking $250,000+ a season. As a result, they let many go, rest it all on one or two guys, then bring in other players from juniors and outside areas. When the team doesnt come up to scratch, blame the coach.

See how it works?

Perhaps we need a return to footballers doing something post-football instead of becoming "commentators". Lots of players in the 1980's and 1990's had day jobs. OK, so the professionalism push has demanded more training, making day jobs impossible for many. 'Save for a rainy day' seems to have been stretched into 'save for a post-football life'. There's time to gamble, drink and lark about. There's also time, therefore, to study, is there not? So you wont make $100,000 a year up-front being an accountant, or real-estate agent, or fireman. But the $100,000 a year you do make for your professional 7-10 years will see you through the first ten of another profession without too much hardship, surely.

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