10 Values Coaches Can Teach + 4 Things to Avoid

Coaches are teachers and have a huge responsibility. They can imbue—or not imbue—values that go far beyond sport itself. What are the lessons of sport and life that parents want their young athletes to come away with? Think about the athletes we admire so much—the names Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Michael Jordan, Cammi Granato and Michelle Kwan, come to mind. What distinguishes these great athletes from so many others? Think of it! Throughout good times and bad they have always played their game with class.

Coaches can inspire children to:

1. Think
2. Create
3. Experiment
4. Be artistic

Coaches can also demand that their athletes exhibit:

5. Honesty
6. Fair play
7. Courtesy
8. Consideration
9. Sportsmanship
10. Etiquette

These characteristics are all integral to winning. Unfortunately, coaches can also teach athletes to:

1. Fear authority
2. Obey without question
3. Perform mechanically
4. To do whatever it takes to win

I believe it is time to come down hard on negative behavior and poor sportsmanship. Young athletes must be taught that how they play the game counts. Then, regardless of the outcome of the game, they will be true winners.

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Laura Stamm of Laura Stamm Power Skating for this story. Kelly Anton, managing editor of the Grow the Game initiative, condensed and edited this story.
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