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Good or Bad, Coaches Are Mentors

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Coaches are often significantly under appreciated. Certainly, there are coaches who display poor behavior and who leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Sadly, we’ve likely all witnessed some brutish behavior from a coach toward his team or a member of his team but all coaches do not behave that way. There are coaches who are in much better control of their emotions and are extremely important in helping to mold the lives of impressionable, young people in a very positive way. Those coaches often teach lessons that have a lasting effect far beyond the time they involved in the actual coaching. Many of us can recall lessons we learned ourselves from some selfless individual who took time out of their own busy schedule to coach little league or some other sporting activity. A lot of those lessons likely had as much to do with how to live responsibly and fairly as they did with how to improve in a particular sport. Learning how to throw a curve ball or to throw up a squarely aimed shot toward the basketball backboard may be important but learning how to get along with others, to give the best of yourselves, and to accept defeat graciously are even more important.
There is an astonishing number of young people these days who do not have parents who teach these fundamental and necessary lessons. When that happens it is often a teacher or a coach who attempts to fill a small part of that enormous void in counseling, encouraging and shaping the young person they associate with. Not only should the parents be extremely grateful for such intervention but society as a whole benefits greatly from these selfless acts.
One may not consider when he or she signs up to coach a young team that they will be providing an important example to the youth who they will be working with. They likely do not realize that they will be teaching life lessons right along with the sporting advise they offer to their charges. Some would be surprised to know what an important role they are providing for a number of these kids.
Perhaps the next time you are disgusted by the actions of some errant coach railing against his team or even the refs, consider that there are also thousands of coaches who are providing the kind of example that will make a huge difference for good in the lives they are mentoring.