Legendary UCLA Basketball coach, Dr. John Robert Wooden, winner of an unprecedented and unmatched ten (including seven consecutive--1966-73) NCAA Men's Basketball championships during a 40 year career 885-203 win-loss record, simply describes himself as "teacher."
"When the game is over, I want your head up--and I know that you did your best...This means to do the best you can do. That's the best; no one can do more...You made that effort."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merly what others think you are."
. . . John Wooden
When "excellence" is the goal, everyone is a winner!
Some of the most common forms of child abuse take place on athletic fields.
As a group coaches are often criticized for their overemphasis on winning and their overly serious attitude toward the league experience. Most studies, however, point out that in general Little League coaches get involved for the love of the game and for the love of their participating child. Coaches that angrily shout criticism from the sidelines are not appreciated or liked as are relaxed, supportive, and knowledgeable coaches who emphasize the improvement and learning of new skills. Coaches that develop close and personal relationships with the child and her/his parents are the most likely to contribute to a positive learning experience.
Coaches are first and foremost role models and teachers. Good coaching is not about producing winning teams; it's about asking every day before practice or a game: "Is what we're planning to do today in the best interest of the kids?"
The best lesson a coach can teach is that playing fairly makes everyone a winner, and that:
"...To be an athlete, you first must learn--
that it's ‘self-respect' you'll have to earn
You must conquer you, or you'll surely get beat,
‘cause you are the one, against whom you compete
. . . Robert L. Kleine
"If there were no sports, life would be easier because you wouldn't have to go play games every other day. . ."
Fifth grade student, Colorado Springs
"I stopped going to gynmastics and soccer because after a while it became like work, no fun...I used to like it..."
Eleven year-old, San Fernando Valley, CA
"They ask me why I coach... And I reply... Where could I find more splendid company?"
. . . Glennice L. Harmon
Principles of Proper Instruction
Boys and girls ages 5-7 can play together equally. Younger children may participate with older ones. The dividing factor should be devised by a combination of skill level, size, and fitness, and not chronological age and/or gender.
If children are not learning and improving their skills, it can't be fun. If it isn't fun, children won't want to come back to play soccer. So be prepared, know the game and the proper skill progressions, and provide the child with numerous opportunities to explore and discover through active participation.
What ever we decide to do during the 10 short weeks of Soccer League, we should never forget that it is the "needs of the kids that we are here to serve and not our own." So let's adopt a "child centered approach to coaching and competition."
Athletics does not develop character. Athletics reveals character.
. . . James Michener
Below is an example I would strongly recommend not to follow!
"Sometimes the preparation is so hard, so intense. . . The crying, the screaming. . . We are not in the gym to be having fun. The fun comes at the end, with the winning and the medals."
Bela Karoli, Gymnastics Coach (1992)
"Sports are most rewarding when the judge of skill and the definer of challenge is the individual athlete. That is when the athlete receives two rewards: the joy of participating and the satisfaction of learning to know oneself."
Ewing & Seefeldt (1990, p. 6)
Daniel Frankl, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Kinesiology and Nutritional Science