In a constantly changing world, when many kids are coming from tough situations, indifferent parents, and schools that adhere to the belief that every child deserves a trophy no matter who wins, being a coach can be a challenging feat. How can you teach sportsmanship and build character in the lives of children you care about – on the field and off? Here’s some food for thought:
Set a stellar example.
Your team will look up to you no matter what, so offer them a role model that is worthy of their admiration. Be careful to display a sportsmanlike attitude. Be respectful of authority and officials, and show courtesy to members of the other teams and their coaching staff.
Admit when you’re wrong.
Let your team know when you’ve made a mistake and create an action plan that involves them to correct the situation. Whether you need to offer a personal apology, or revamp drills to better your team’s skills, tell them why you are doing what you are doing, and then step up to the plate.
Don’t tolerate bad behavior.
It can be difficult to be a disciplinarian, but when a member of your team is blatantly disrespectful, it puts your other team members in jeopardy. When confronted with this common challenge, it’s time to dole out some consequences. Harder drills, time on the bench, or other reinforced discipline will let a player know that you mean business.
Insist on participation.
Don’t let a team member walk away because a task is too hard or because he doesn’t feel like being involved. Members of any team need to work together and participation shouldn’t be optional.
When your team does well, congratulations are in order. Stop, and let your team enjoy the sweetness of victory for a little while before you move on with your coaching strategy to continue improving their games. After all, these are the moments that make all that hard work worth it.
Coaching can be amazingly rewarding on a personal level. Set your expectations high and expect the children under your supervision to excel not only in their sport but in life, and you may be pleasantly surprised how well they live up to those expectations.
Michael Hare is the owner and editor at leaguepitchingmachines.com, an online resource and store for baseball skill development. Michael has been involved in the game of baseball since early childhood and is thrilled to now be so heavily occupied in the Major League Baseball community.