I once watched a video featuring part of a talk by Russ Rose, the now retired coach of Penn State women’s volleyball. Aside from the fact that he mentioned Rhode Island, the state I grew up in (Penn State used to be in the Atlantic 10 conference with the University of Rhode Island), I was particularly interested in his perspective on attitude problem players. He flat out refuses to bring them into his squad. His reason was something like this:
If I take a pass on an extremely talented, but bad attitude, player the worse she can do is give me 8 days of grief over four years by beating us (meaning twice a year in conference play). If she goes to a non-conference team then it’s only 4 times in the NCAA tournament. However, if I bring her into my team she can make my life – and that of the whole rest of the program – miserable every day for four years.
I’ve never heard it expressed like that. I can definitely relate to how challenging life can be when there’s a problem player in the squad, though. It can make for an absolutely miserable season.
Coach Rose obviously had a significant advantage. He led a top program and was able to be very selective about the players he recruited. Not all of us have the ability to be quite so picky. Even still, unless forced to coach a specific group of players, we do have the recourse of suspension or cut to jettison a problem attitude.
So my question to readers is this: Where’s the line? How much attitude are you willing to take? Does the line vary according to the player’s talent? Is the line different for a male team than for a female one? And I’m not talking here about general “this generation” issues.
Leave a comment below and let us know your view.
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