By Tim Bradbury Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
Good coaches are holistic ones. They see the players they try to teach not just as mini-athletes but as people. Indeed, they see the players they coach as people first. They are concerned with the development of the whole person and are acutely aware that while many of the players they coach will not become professional athletes, they will become adults, parents and members of society. Once this fact has dawned on a coach, coaching becomes more than just teaching technique and tactics as it transforms into something that is much more important––it becomes leading people and teams.
One could argue that with all the distractions that surround a developing child, the business of being an effective leader of people is more important than a deep-seated knowledge of the game. We seem to live in a world where morals and ethics are in absolute chaos. People are quick to cheat and lie and the belief that it is okay to do so as long as you get something out of it is prevalent. The role models that our children are presented with in sports, entertainment and politics are often just great examples of how a caring and responsible adult or child should never behave. Everything that our culture seems to promote seems to be the exact opposite of the values that a good coach will have as the foundation of their team.
I often become concerned when teaching courses and modules that exist within them like leading the player and leading the team, ethics and morals in sport come up and need to be discussed. My concern lies with the fact that it is not until you make coaches aware of the huge responsibility they have as a role model, leader and teacher that they begin to even think about it.
So be very specific and to the point – All youth coaches must have an acute awareness of the core values that set the foundation of all their workings with a team and its players.
These core values must be deeply considered, believed in, talked about and lived by. They set the tone for all your team do and become. I challenge any youth coach reading this to do the following:
List the top five core values you believe are inherent in the way you teach. Note next to the core value the ways in which you address it with your team. See the examples below
All youth coaches should have at least a set of five core values that underpin all they do and should have some idea of how they are incorporating that core value into their team and their players.
Obviously the core values at the center of any team should be reflected by the parents of the players on the team. How many of the soccer parents reading this have a clear idea of the core values that are at the heart of your team? How many have ever considered it and what importance do you place on it?
The plain and simple truth for the vast majority of youth coaches is that you will not coach a professional or world class player. Probably not even a player that moves on to play at the collegiate level. WHAT YOU WILL DEFINITELY COACH IS YOUNG PLAYERS WHO WILL BECOME ADULTS WHO HAVE TO DEAL WITH LIFE'S PROBLEMS AND CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY IN A POSITIVE WAY. Perhaps it is time that we all spent a few moments considering the core values you have the chance to instill in the players you work with.