Directed by William J. Saunders and Rory Kaupf and written by Kaupf, Netflix Original “Coach Snoop” offers a rare picture of iconic rapper Snoop Dogg in a drug and alcohol-free environment where he uses his wealth and influence to improve the lives of members in his youth football league in an engaging and realistic manner.
The documentary series follows Snoop’s league, an after-school football program serving inner-city Los Angeles youth that he founded as they make their way through the season. The players come from various backgrounds and have unique issues concerning the absence of parents in the home, educational struggles and grief.
The series profiles some of the players and brings their stories to life, with some of the boys having absent fathers or losing close family members early on in their lives. Snoop Dogg said one of his goals in creating the team was to improve the lives of the players by keeping them out of trouble and actively improving themselves.
The way the coaches talk about their players implies they believe the team to be the best thing they have going on in their lives. While this may be the case for some of the players, the parents speak passionately about the time and effort they put into their children. This feels, at times, as though it is negating any efforts the parents are making to give their children better opportunities. This may be a case of not capturing the full picture, as the parents and coaches spend much of the series arguing about how the players should be treated.
Head coach Snoop and his assistant coaches will talk to their players the way the players talk to each other, which is vulgar. An interesting approach to mentorship and coaching, Snoop says this was inspired by the time he spent “in the street” as an adolescent in an area rife with gang activity. It further focuses the point of a rough upbringing being applied to both coaches and players.
The strengths of the show become apparent in individual interviews, when cameras are brought into the homes and private lives of not only the players but their parents as well. The hurt in their voices when talking about lost loved ones, passion in regard to the children and desire to see them succeed is clearly sincere. This takes what would be a run-of-the-mill football documentary with a celebrity sponsorship and transforms it into a truly touching and authentically captured story.
The docuseries offers a rare view of Snoop Dogg in an environment completely at odds with the majority of his career. It is also worth watching to see the young players being given the opportunity to travel, learn discipline and as Snoop Dogg says in one of the episodes, to have values instilled in them which would have been absent from their lives otherwise.
Overall, the series is entertaining, with just enough everyday drama to keep viewers on the edge of their seats as long as they are willing to overlook the tumultuous dynamic between coaches and parents.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars