More info about reasons 12-13

I2. in football, there is a lot of individual instruction and encouragement from adults. A coach who has only the nine defen- sive lineman

to deal with for an hour is going to get a pretty good sense of who these youngsters are, what drives them, what they can and can't do. And those players are going to see the coach in a less formal and more human frame; they get to ask questions when questions arise without feeling as though they're on stage in front of 30 other bored students.

Let's admit a basic truth: bigger classes make personal contact more difficult. The school I was in had an average class size of 27 students. That was considered pretty good, since the statewide average was 31. But as I looked around the halls at the team photos in their glass trophy cases, the highest player-to-coach ratio I saw was 13 to one; sometimes it was better than 10 to one. There was one photo of the varsity football team with Coach Phillips and his three assistants surrounded by 35 players; erase the three assistants from the picture, and you could have had a photo of any one of his history classes.

On the first day of freshman basketball practice, 23 hopefuls tried out, and by the end the first week, there were still 17. On the next Monday morning the coach said to me, "I sure hope some more of these kids quit. You can't do anything with 17 kids." True enough -- so why do we expect him to do something five periods a day with 25, 30, or 34?