There are tens of thousands of well-meaning coaches in youth and high school athletics/activites across this nation. Being placed in a position of influence and power over young people, however, requires - to borrow from the Hippocratic oath - that coaches first do no harm, and hopefully do some good. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that many will be remembered by their players for all the wrong reasons.
The national governing bodies for sports in America provide coaches with technical information and training, but very little about communicatng with, teaching and mentoring young people. Youth and high school sports teach young people many life lessons, and the impact coaches have on youth is lifelong, whether for good or bad. It is up to the coach which lessons he or she teaches.
A coach can choose to have a positive impact on young people by teaching these lessons:
- fair play;
- dedication and commitment;
- respect; and
- the value of hard work.
Kids will remember for life coaches that teach these lessons.
But a coach can also choose to have a negative impact on his players by teaching these lessons:
- that life is not about fairness;
- that double standards are the norm;
- that everyone in sports should play with a win-at-all-costs attitude;
- that rules are made to be broken; and
- that the coach is more important than the players.
A coach who teaches these lessons will also be remembered by his players for life.
But does a coach really want them to remember him for all the wrong reasons?
The choice is up to the coach.