Coach favoritism can factor in picking roster

Illustration by Gabriella Backus

Gabriella Backus

Illustration by Gabriella Backus

Jasmine Castillo, Opinion Editor

While participating in sport tryouts, most athletes give it their all, believing that their hard work and skill will be rewarded with a spot on the team ー but to some coaches, favoritism and seniority, rather than skill, may be the reason an athlete makes the roster.
Whether it stems from a past relationship with a coach or past performance on the team, coaches tend to gravitate to players they feel will complement the team. Still, according to Bear Creek’s water polo coach Michael Heberle, favoritism within a team does exist.
“As a coach, to say that it doesn’t play a factor at all is probably a little bit naive,” Heberle said. “If you had a player last year who performed really phenomenal, but then for some reason didn’t do well in tryouts, I could see how that could affect a coach’s decision. I think [favoritism] plays a role, but I try to do my diligence to make it not play a role [in my coaching] because I believe that everyone should have a fair shot.”
Many athletes hold the same opinion as Heberle, saying favoritism and seniority do factor into a coach’s roster.
“Honestly, some past players didn’t even go to all of the tryouts for soccer and they still made the team,” junior varsity soccer player Alexia Garcia, a sophomore, said. “Newcomers that tried their hardest with time and effort didn’t make it, while past players that barely tried still made it, which obviously shows favoritism from our coach.”
Freshman junior varsity soccer player Diego Ramirez also shared a similar experience.
“There were two players who came back rusty and our coach let them on the team even though they didn’t try out,” Ramirez said.
“In every sport there is favoritism,” football player John Shinn, a sophomore, said. “They act by skill set and also relationships with coaches. So, yeah, favoritism in sports is always an occurrence.”
Other athletes disagree, saying favoritism and seniority are not influential factors in choosing a roster.
“Coaches pick who they believe are the best assets to the team skill wise,” junior varsity volleyball player Janaina Oliveira, a sophmore, said. “It is as simple as that.”
“It’s based on skill rather than personality,” junior varsity water polo player Jonni Fenton, a sophmore, said. “There is no favoritism in water polo. It is either you are good and make the team or not as skillful as others and don’t make the team.”
Individuals who do get cut from a sport may place blame on factors such as seniority instead of addressing areas of weakness to improve upon. Others wonder if factors such as health concerns play a role in a coach’s decision.
“The coach didn’t want me to be on the volleyball team because I’m a diabetic, even though it is totally safe for me to play on a sports team,” sophomore Inderpreet Kaur said. “I think that shows favoritism towards those who don’t have my condition.”

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