I’ve never liked Mick Malthouse. There is just something about him, a certain smugness perhaps, that meant I never warmed to him. There was also the small matter that his teams, particularly in the old West Coast days, were particularly unlikeable despite having many great players and a lot of success. Despite ‘our’ history, I was still surprised earlier this season when he was involved in an incident with an opposing player during the match. To my mind, and also that of the AFL tribunal, his actions clearly overstepped coaching ethics. In the heat of the action, many things are said, often regrettable things, but the coach must remain above that part of the fray.
Sadly it was actually less of a surprise to me to hear that at least two experienced coaches at Australian Junior Volleyball Championships apparently took their coaching ethics not from the AVF Coach’s Code of Ethics, but direct from Mick Malthouse. I heard of one situation where a coach targetted an opposing player for abuse during a match and another where a coach abused the losing team after a match. While Malthouse obviously acted unethically at least he was a dealing with an adult who could defend himself (and was seemingly no angel). However, the two (or more?) cases at AJVC were not only unethical but the worst kind of bullying, in one case an adult male towards junior girls. Bullying is not acceptable the schoolyard. It is not acceptable in professional sport. How can it be acceptable for junior volleyball?
It is more than just sad that in 2010 there are still junior coaches who consider such behaviour to be appropriate and unimaginable that as a volleyball community we continue to accept it. It seems though, that we do.