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Athletic Support: “Practices running late causing problems”
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: My son’s summer basketball practices are supposed to be over at 11:30. Some days, they don’t let them out until almost noon. This causes a huge problem for parents like me, who have to ask off work to pick them up. None of the parents (myself included) want to say anything because no one wants to cause a problem with the coach. Honestly, though, I’m so tired of it at this point, I’m thinking I’m just going to have a talk with the coach. Surely this coach wouldn’t take out any frustration he has with me on my son, right?


—   On Time


Dear Time: No good coach is ever going to let their feelings for a player’s parent interfere with how they interact with that particular child. 


So the question now becomes: Is your son’s coach “good?”


The bit about holding the players longer than previously advertised doesn’t necessarily tip the needle too far one way or the other. Coaches are competitive by nature. They want to win, and the only way to do that is by practicing. So extra-long practices could just be a byproduct of this coach’s commitment. 


I would say if this is an everyday occurrence — every practice, all summer long — then, yeah, go have a talk with him. 


If practices are running long only occasionally, then let it slide and be happy your son has such a devoted coach.


Dear Athletic Support: My daughter’s coaches make them wear different color t-shirts on different days for practice. I think this is supposed to be like team building or something, but we don’t always have the right colors on because, well, frankly, I don’t have time to do that much laundry every week. I like the idea of the color-coded shirts, but it is a big hassle. Is this really necessary?


—   Tired of Tees


Dear Tees: This is a new one for me. I’ve never heard of color-coordinated t-shirts for different practices. It does seem like an awful lot of work, on top of just having to make sure your daughter is at the practice and properly equipped. 


Back when I was coaching, the coaches did the laundry. The boys kept all their “cloth” on a clip and we ran it through this huge washing machine and industrial dryer every single day. 


It was by far my least favorite part of coaching. 


Regardless, I feel like the color-coordinated t-shirts are a little much. I doubt this coach would dock your daughter in any way if she happened to miss a day.


If it’s something your daughter is really serious about, though, you might pass the responsibility on to her. If she’s old enough for school-organized athletics, she’s plenty old enough to do her own laundry, and make sure she wears the right colored shirt to practice!


Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to 


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