Valley Parks and Recreation faces coaching shortage as fall sports approach

Published 11:00 am Friday, July 22, 2022

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Registration for fall sports at Valley Parks and Recreation have opened, but they’re struggling with finding volunteer coaches for the few sports they will play.

Part of the reason they’re struggling to find coaches is because they rely on volunteer coaches, but people have struggled with their work schedules the last few years.

Valley Parks and Recreation is looking for people to coach youth football, pee wee flag football, youth cheerleading and youth soccer.

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The youth cheerleaders will cheer during the youth football games.

Mark Hudmon, the athletic manager of Valley Parks and Recreation, is hoping more coaches will volunteer.

“A lot of the coaching issues have to do with people’s work schedules,” Hudmon said. “Some of these people don’t know what time they’re going to get off work every day, so it’s hard for them to commit. We have to start our games at six because we can’t keep the kids out all night when they have school the next day. We’re between a rock and a hard place there.”

The coaches aren’t paid anything, so their sole incentive to coach is to give to the community.

“This is beginning to be the toughest part of our job is finding coaches for these kids,” Hudmon said. “We want people who have a little bit of experience with football. Sometimes we don’t get that, but it works out. A coach with experience who can teach the kids makes it easier for us because we’re trying to organize the league. When you have to step in as coach, it puts a little extra on us.”

Hudmon wants people to step up as coaches to give back to the community.
“Volunteer coaches are very important, and we want to see these guys give back to the community,” Hudmon said. “They probably grew up in the program. Now they’re older, and they remember what they did. They’ve been around the game of football, which as we all know everybody is a football coach in this area.”

Hudmon is looking for parents to volunteer, but anyone who loves these sports can coach.

“It doesn’t have to be your kid that’s playing,” Hudmon said. “If you love the game and you know how to teach X’s and O’s, that’s what we want.”

Hudmon is planning to use Facebook to recruit coaches for now but will use a different strategy when the school year starts.

“When school starts on Aug. 8, we’ll have signs where they drop off the kids which will tell them about registration,” Hudmon said.

Fortunately for Valley Parks and Recreation, they aren’t struggling to find officials.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a group of guys around here who enjoy doing it,” Hudmon said. “We only use two officials per field.”

The fall sports will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and will start at 6 p.m. those nights.

Valley Parks and Recreation will hold a coach’s meeting on Aug. 15 and a parent’s meeting on Aug. 16. All fall recreation sports will be played until Halloween when registration for winter sports open.