My kids probably respected and sometimes even feared their coach more than any other authority figure in their lives. That’s the person they worried the most about. Does my coach like me? Am I going to start? I noticed that my middle daughter’s town coach would work with her team on kindness and appreciating every member of the team through “pump up” letters before games. In small ways and big ways, coaches have enormous influence that can be tapped and used to encourage athletes to develop not just as good players, but good people.
Developing Good People Not Just Good Players
The role of the coach can influence far beyond the field. It’s really important to recognize non-soccer things to help develop players into good people. For example, I coach U14 girls on a club team and I might recognize the player for being courteous because they let someone cut them in line. Somebody didn’t have a change to go so you recognize that and you let them go ahead of you. As opposed to I am going to be the first one in front the college coach who’s recruiting here today.
“Round of applause for Miriam for being courteous. She let Jocelyn go ahead of her.”
“Round of applause for Adriana for collecting balls at the end of practice. That’s really nice.”
“Round of applause for Jackie who did a slide tackle and sacrificed her body for the team.”
“Round of applause for Serena who was the first over when there was an injury on the field. They forgot about the ball and just ran over to check on the player. You’re the player of the day!”
I think we should be encouraging our athletes through sports things that should really matter in life. Like being a good person. Helping out. Unless I compliment that behavior, my players will never know that it’s important to me as a coach.
We have to let players know that other things that are important besides winning and getting drafted like being kind and caring about others
… to read the rest of the chapter, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out!