2019 Coaches Report: Overwhelming opposition to esports
Last year, Coach & Athletic Director began surveying high school coaches to gather feedback on some of the major issues in the profession. The results help us better understand the challenges faced by coaches, and they guide us in providing relevant content to confront those issues head on.
The 2019 Coaches Report examined the prevalence of athletic trainers in high school sports and legislative efforts in some states to allow home-schooled athletes to play public school sports. We also asked coaches about the nationwide referee shortage and what they believe is causing the decline.As part of our annual study, we also asked coaches to rank what they believe are the most significant challenges facing them today. For the second straight year, sport specialization topped the list with nearly 90% of coaches indicating they were at least somewhat troubled by the trend.
Here’s what coaches had to say about esports.
Overwhelming opposition to esports
Competitive gaming is now a sanctioned high school sport in nine states, a designation nearly 80% of coaches disagree with.
Esports is on track to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of the year, and the competitive gaming craze is most evident among teenagers. Over the last few years, schools nationwide have picked up competitive gaming as a club activity, but now, one by one, athletic associations are beginning to adopt it as an official sport with sanctioned tournaments.
While the majority of coaches disagree that competitive gaming should be sanctioned, only 29% believe video games are detrimental to education and should not be allowed in high schools.
“They’re fine on their own but shouldn’t be connected in this way as a ‘sport,’” one coach said. “If (kids) want to do it outside of school, fine by me. It shouldn’t be funded by the school district when electronics are an in-class problem.”
Several coaches also expressed concern that esports encourage a sedentary lifestyle in a time when obesity is a nationwide problem.
“(Esports) have an important role in today’s society, but they’re the opposite of being physically active,” a coach said. “Unfortunately, there is too much money behind these activities by corporations that are not concerned with the overall wellness of children.”
Other key takeaways from this year’s survey include:
- Fan behavior blamed for referee shortage
- Let home-schoolers play
- Problems with parents persist
- A greater commitment to athletic trainers