By: John Engh, Chief Operating Officer
National Alliance for Youth Sports
This is my favorite kind of BLOG – the kind where I am so inspired to write about something that the words just flow. I would never claim to be an accomplished writer but for a topic like this, it’s just sit at the keyboard and type and there’s no need for editing (so please excuse in advance any typos or poor grammar).
The question is how do we get youth coaches that behave and act so blatantly different? It’s obvious to me that both of these coaches are intense competitors who played the game that they now coach at some higher level (one actually mentions his college experience). But the philosophy of these two guys is so drastically different it makes me wonder, “How does that happen?”
The truth is, there are only two answers here and I am not sure which applies in these cases. The first is blind luck. We have one coach that “gets it” because he had a similar experience growing up or he had some great coaches himself and he remembers them and honors them by coaching in that same style – using positive examples, teaching sportsmanship and a no-quit attitude. Meanwhile, the other coach is coaching based on the experience he had as a youth player and it was an “in your face, winning is everything, my way or the highway” example that must have in some way worked for him, because as he says, “I played at the college level.”
The second answer is that it’s not blind luck. It’s that someone at the beginning of these youth leagues made a conscious decision to ensure a positive message and developing players who understand that winning isn’t the only thing, but that it is the only thing we should strive for in sports is what is important. And that person took the time to find a way to spread that message to his volunteer coaches and probably also takes the time to make sure what they were taught is actually implemented on the fields, courts and/or rinks!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.