What does it take to be an
All-Star?: Part 2 – Coaches
By STEVEN G. WATSON
Probably the hardest job to have in all this All-Star and Tournament Team choosing business is the head-coaching job itself.
They are responsible for naming the players on the roster and placing the votes that will make or break a child’s hopes and dreams. Over the next four or five days the different leagues will have their coaches’ meetings to pick the teams and all the pressure will be on their heads.
All of the coaches have different ideas on who deserves to make the team and most of the time they will have a top five or six that they all agree on. It’s those final seven or eight roster spots that bring the most problem.
That kind of thing might weigh heavier on a coaches mind than you might think.
"I absolutely hate it," Dixie Youth Cardinals head coach Cot Wallace said. "I love the regular season and we work as a team never mentioning the tournament. The main thing is to teach the kids something and have fun trying to win games during the regular season.
"What is real hard is when you’ve got 10 that make it and you have to try and find those other three," he continued. "That’s when it gets hard because there are a lot of deserving kids that could fill those spots."
"There’s going to be 13 kids on the team, a number of kids on the bubble that aren’t going to make it and one or two that might not should have made it," Dixie Minor Angels head coach Phillip East said. "It’s just part of it.
"You’ve only got 13 kids and that’s all you can take," East added. "We’ve got to pick a team that’s going to represent Troy and we’ve got to live and die with who we pick, especially the head coach."
The fact of the matter is that there are just not enough spots for everyone. Everyone agrees, however, taking the "chance" to compete on a tournament team is not an option. The pluses for those who actually make it are too great.
"It’s a great thing for the ones that make it," Dixie Angels Bay Bears head coach Dan Boswell said. "They get three weeks of intense practice just on the fundamentals. They have a chance to compete with other girls from other communities and advance to the state level competition. It’s good for them all around, but it can also be bad for those who don’t make it.
"You can only pick 12 in our league so you’re going to always have some disappointment and they don’t understand why they didn’t make it," he continued. "It’s a learning experience for them. When I was an 11-year-old boy I didn’t make the All-Star team and I remember crying, but it made me work harder to make it the next year. You’ve just got to turn the negative into a positive and the parents can do that."
While all the coaches agree that no matter what names they put on the list there will be those who feel slighted, they all agree that the system that Troy uses is the best they have heard of yet.
It’s a system in which no one player is assured a spot on the roster and the group that is probably most qualified to make the decision – the coaches – does just that. These are the men who see first hand what the players can do and while they see their own teams the most all year they must take into consideration that this day is coming.
"There is no perfect system that’s for sure, but the only people who really know how players play and how they perform day to day are the coaches themselves," East said. "What I see in those games builds my memory of him when it comes time to vote. Of course I talk to other coaches and I hear other coaches talking about who’s been playing good and who hasn’t."
"It’s the fairest one that I know of because no one coach can keep a player off the team and no one coach can put a player on the team," Wallace said of the system. "I think it’s the coaches responsibility to go and watch the other teams in the league. They say I’m out there scouting when I do it, but when I took the head coaching job I took the responsibility to pick the best 13 players in the league. To do that coaches need to watch as many other games as they can as often as they can. Most of them do."
So now is the time. All the consideration and "Scouting" has been done. A decision has to be made and for better or worse it will be.
This is Part 2 of a three-part series on the All-Star Tournament-Team selection. Friday’s paper will conclude the series.