May 1, 2008
Are Coaches being Glorified? Part II by John DeBenedictis
What is the role of the coach and how important are they in that job?
The coach, regardless of the age group and level he or she is coaching, has a very important role in the relationsip with the athletes of the team outside of simply teacing skills and tactics. In fact, this role is probaly more important than most coaches themselves understand. Studies have show over and over that a coach is a very influential person in a child's life and actually is the second most important person in children's lives nest to the parent. In fact, in cases where there are parental problems or a child has lost a parent, the coach can take on those roles as well. At each age group, the coach influences players in different ways. How a coach interacts with the athletes can either crate a positive or negative experience for the athlete.
In other studies that looked at the drop out rates in children's sports, the coach is very influential. How enjoyable they make the sport, can either increase or decrease the chances of their playing the sprot for a long time or quitting. Their role in the development of the child as a person will be a much more important aspect of their coaching. Players and parents will remember them in how they or their child was treated and not what they won. Unfortunately, coaches themselves are often under the wrong impression that they are there to only teach kids how to play and then to make their team a winning team.
This is the biggest misconception a coach can have about his or her performances as a coach. Most parents don't care if the team wins or loses. All they care about is how their kids play. Everyone plays to win but the parent is concerned that his/her child plays. Are they enjoying the game, making friends, keeping fit, demonstrating fair play, and learning the values of competition and cooperation? These are life skills that are applicable to the real world. Playing in the NHL,NBA, Wolrld Series of the World Cup is not going to be the real world for most kids. Of course, there are parents who actually think their child will be the next superstar but most are reasonable and just wnat their kids to do their best and use sport as a life learning tool. That can only happen if kids stay in sports. Of course players need a goal that there may be a future in athletics but coaches must realize that young kids will search for that goal on their own. Parents are acutally expecting you to get to the other goals. Ultimately, to lean life's lessons.
Therein coaches make grave mistakes and are the prime reason why kids quit sports. In a study of over 11,ooo kids, the number one and two factors for why kids quit sports are:
- 1) It was no longer interesting and
- 2) It was no longer FUN.
This was the same for boys and girls. Quitting because the coach was a poor teacher was the 6th on the list for reasons why boys quit sports and not even in the top ten list for why girls quit sports.
Check back next week for Part III of this interesting article on Coaches.