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What Are The Responsibilities Of Youth Coaches?

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When millions of parents across the country send their kids out in their brightly colored football jerseys to learn the essentials of football and life lessons as well they often have a rude awakening.
While a good share of parents of pre-teen youth have experienced coaches who positively impacted their children’s lives, sadly a large number of parent’s have had exactly the opposite experience. Too many parent’s have had the experience of enrolling their kids into sports programs that they had hoped would be a building experience for their offspring but instead served to leave them feeling inferior and frustrated. One has to wonder why this happens so frequently. Certainly it is the job of a coach to instruct his students in how to be successful at their particular sport, what techniques are effective, and how to win. But are those really the most important lessons to impart to these impressionable young kids? Especially when the drive to win supersedes any and all other considerations? Many parent’s have become disillusioned with youth sports as they’ve witnessed kid’s being talked to in a demeaning and insulting manner when they haven’t delivered what the coach expected of them. It is likely that this behavior does more harm than good. There is already a fair amount of pressure on our youth during the process of growing into responsible adults and to add additional and unnecessary stress by making them feel diminished would seem to be the last thing they need. How refreshing it is to hear of coaches who not only strive to teach their kids the fundamentals of a given sport but who also impart valuable life lessons in the process. Coaches who encourage their kids to be fair, honest and respectful along with improving their athletic skills should be highly valued. An example of such a coach recently came to my attention. According to the parent’s of a particular youth football team, the coach routinely counseled his young athletes to make sure their school work was a top priority. He instilled in them that while football was fun and worthwhile it would likely be the lessons they learned academically that would lead to their future success if life. He also inspired them to be good examples for others around them, to watch out for kids who were being bullied and to have compassion for those less gifted and less fortunate. Obviously it is the parent’s who should be teaching these lessons to their children and hopefully that is the case for most of them. It still doesn’t hurt to have these lessons stressed by others who spend time with our kid’s and who our kids look up to. Just think about how different this world could be if more of our precious kid’s were taught by word and example how to be their best selves.