May 13, 2008
Are Coaches being Glorified Part IV by John DeBenedictis
Whenever I put on coaching sessions I say, “Coaches, you are not on TV! There are no close ups of you and you are not being judged by weather you win or lose.”
Coaches often make that assumption because the one or two parents out of 18 that they coach, are giving them suggestions of what he or she should do to win. Those parents are giving coaches the wrong impression. They do not represent most of the other parents of the kids they coach. Unfortunately, those type parents are also often the most vocal parents on the team and use language that would make the coach feel that all other parents share his or her views. Rarely is that the case.
Children want to have fun, and they are eager to learn but things need to be kept interesting. The coach occupies a special place in the eyes of a young player. They look to the coach as a role model, leader, problem solver and someone who will enlighten their lives. Coaches must not turn them off sports by ignoring these psychological cues that children fail to shout out at them.Ultimately the coach will be judged and remembered by how they treat their athletes, the officials and the opponents. The real “coach of the year” should be the coach who brings back the most players in the following season, not the coach with the most victories.
An Important note to coaches: “You are very important in more ways than you think. It’s time to re-define your real job as a coach of our youth. You are not there just coaching a sport. You are there to help guide kids through life. Those coaching very young kids will have different issues than coaches coaching teenagers. Also, each child is different emotionally, mentally and coaching is a challenge. Please be proud and honoured of the fact that you have been given a huge task with our youth and learn what you can about dealing with the age bracket you are coaching. Take it professionally and respectfully.”
“Your real job is to keep kids in the game, while teaching values and ethics. Make it fun and interesting to the point that the kids you coach will love what they’re doing so much that they will thrive to repeat what you teach them at home and look forward to coming to games and practices” “And about losing your players to poachers. Don’t worry. If you accomplish those two goals, no one will want to leave and the parents will not want them to leave. You’re real success as a coach will be judged by how many players you keep in sport and by the impression you left on that child’s life forever. Will the players you coach seek you out 20 years later and thank you for your time and how you treated them as individuals?”
“Strive for those goals everyday as a coach and success will come automatically in more ways than one.” Coaches! You are glorified because you do make a big difference in a child’s life. Unlike television you are not glorified because the audience wants to see you act immaturely on the sidelines. That’s not your place when you coach kids. Your are not on TV. You are not in the entertainment business of pro sports.
If you coach kids, please be the reason kids stay in sports, not the reason they quit sports.
Enjoy the challenge, have fun and thanks for reading.
Executive Director (National Soccer Coaches Association of Canada) John DeBenedictis received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical and Health Education with an advanced certificate of Coaching from York University. He has studied children’s drop out rates in sports and the psychology and sociological factors in sports for over 30 years in a variety of sports. He has written numerous articles, made films and lectured on these issues.
Check back next week for more great articles.