Creating Caring Cultures
By Greg Bach
When it comes to coaching kids, friendships can’t be forced and caring can’t be coerced.
But when coaches blend creative activities into the season – like beloved volunteer coach Jillian Carroll does with her youth soccer teams in Kansas City – amazing results follow.
And young lives are changed forever.
“We do a lot of things off the field, but as a team,” says Carroll, who played soccer at Northern Iowa University and is a sideline reporter and broadcast host for FOX Sports Midwest. “For example, we will go run a 5K together, because when I was young I did not like running so I try to make it an enjoyable event with my players. We also do community service: we’ll donate books or help out at food kitchens. So, we do things that are team-oriented, but not game-oriented.”
When young players are presented with opportunities like these to spend time around each other in different environments, they get to know one another better, relationships begin to forge, and team camaraderie flourishes.
“It’s important that when you are coaching young players it just becomes their norm,” Carroll says of being a difference maker in the community and helping others. “And then they learn that it feels good to give back.”
Plus, when coaches expose players to activities they never gave thought to doing with teammates, it paves the way for them to adopt that mindset and reach out to others on their own.
“Even if they want to do a 5K they are thinking, ‘Let me ask my teammates to see if they are interested,’” Carroll says. “And then it just becomes a culture.”
It also provides some wonderful life lessons that youngsters will take with them into adulthood.
Carroll is one of 50 outstanding coaches featured in SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL COACHING, written by the National Alliance for Youth Sports. Carroll, along with Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Jenny Boucek, and many more, share tips and insights to help be that special coach that kids love playing for, learning from and remembering for the rest of their lives.
The book can be purchased through the Square One Publishers website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookstore.
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