Monday, March 29, 2010

A Coaches Greatest Gift

I’ve coached state champions, regional champions, and national champions. Watching athletes succeed in competition is rewarding for a coach. But, it’s not the greatest reward a coach can receive. Several times in my career, I have been approached after competitions by parents and coaches from other teams who have told me they really appreciate the way our coaches work with our athletes. These are the moments I consider my most successful.

As coaches, the greatest gift we can give our athletes will come from HOW we teach rather than WHAT we teach. Of course, it’s important to teach sports skills properly. But, in the big picture, the lessons learned from us as role models will last longer than the sports skills we teach.

Athletes, coaches, and parents love the results produced by hard work and good training. But it’s the process of attaining those results where learning takes place. The lessons children take from youth sports come more from the steps taken to excel in competition than they do from the competition itself.

Goal setting and goal achievement, self-discipline, perseverance, teamwork, and the joy of participation are just a few of the lessons learned from the process of preparing for competition.

Young athletes benefit when parents look past the results of competition to see what methods are used and what lessons are taught during the process of training to compete. Are the methods positive and progressive? Are the adults involved modeling behaviors and an attitude that you want your child to emulate? In addition to sports skills is your child learning lessons that are in line with what you are teaching them? Such as, how to be a good person, hard work pays off, etc.

Coaches, if parents are looking for these things because they are good for their children, we should be providing them for the same reason.

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