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Original Issue

Ask the Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

Dear Coach: I play on my high school hockey team, and earlier
this year I accidentally bumped a ref. I apologized, but he's
holding a grudge. He whistles me for everything. How do I get
him off my back?

Dear Singled: Skate a fine line, because it's tough to work your
way out of a ref's doghouse. "If a ref is out to get you, he'll
find ways to keep you off the ice," says Jack Hutslar, founder
of the North American Youth Sport Institute. Only your best
on-ice behavior can salvage your reputation. "Play fair and keep
your mouth shut," says Hutslar. "Take whatever he hands out
without showing emotion, and thank him after each game." Also,
referees share dish on players all the time, so, says Hutslar,
"if it becomes common knowledge that you're clean, he'll see
that he's misjudged you."

Dear Coach: My high school hockey coach whacks us on the shins
or shoulders with a stick during practice. Usually he hits our
pads, but occasionally he nails us and says it's for our own
good. Is this all right?

Dear Mole: Someone must get your stick-happy coach to stop
immediately. He's trying to make sure the players are tough
enough to play for him, probably because that's how his coach
treated him, but such old-school tactics are outdated and
dangerous; just last week a college coach was suspended after
giving one of his players a concussion with a stick whack. Go
ahead and tell the athletic director and your parents about
these incidents before an injury--and, most likely, a