All coaches of youth sports this is for you…
Last week I wrote about how in 1981 I was coached by a wildly, positive, crazy coach who really taught me about setting a goal and PUSHING thru to make it happen.
This week I happened to have two different discussions with parents about their kids experience under the current coaches they play for. One situation is a 10U development program where the coach is demeaning, degrading and just overall negative in how he makes the girls feel. The other is a 12U coach who plays weird mind games with the best player on the team all in an “effort to push her to be good”. I talked to a good friend who a is a family and child therapist who advised me to make sure the parents are vigilant with this coach around their daughter.
I have said it many times and I will reiterate it here again. Parents should interview their child’s youth coach like you would your pet sitter. Why want parents ask the 4 questions that a “Transformational” coach is excited to answer is beyond me. 1. Why do you coach? 2. Why do you coach the way you coach? 3. What does it feel like to be coached by you? 4. How does the coach define success? The only way to coach young people is to seek to transform their sense of their own worth.
Transformational coaches are other-centered. They use their power and platform to nurture and transform players. Therefore a youth player should never have to worry about the “mood” of the coach. Parents when your child comes home from a practice or game and say “my coach was in a bad mood”, where was the other-centered behavior?
Parents should be very leery of Transactional coaches who operate on a quid pro quo basis to incentivize their players to perform better. Especially the coaches who say “I am only hard on her to get the most out of her”, BS. That is not what Transformational coaching is about.
What do you call a coach who refuses to call a certain pitch that they know a kid is working on all because the coach never threw that pitch when they played? I call that selfish on the coaches part.
I mean, think about it, in this year’s college world series every great pitcher threw a rise ball, some threw it almost exclusively, so we know the rise ball is a relevant and important pitch still in this game. So for a coach to not allow a 12 year old player who they know is working on a rise ball, to never throw the pitch all because they didn’t, and especially if the kid throws it pretty good, but won’t call it because they didn’t throw it when they played I call that selfish and bad coaching.
As a youth coach one of our jobs is to develop our players. How many 12U kids are getting a jump on this kid because they are playing for coaches who understand the development responsibility and is allowing their players to gain experience throwing the rise ball. Young coaches who played sometimes get stuck on what they did, and what worked for them instead of looking at what’s best for the player, now and out in the future.
As I have said many times, outside of parenting there might not be a better platform than coaching to transform boys and girls into healthy thriving men and women.
Our transformational coaches believe our student athletes can grow and flourish in sports in a way that is more liberating and instructive than can be achieved through almost any other activity. This is why we coach, not to just to win a game or to be able to say my coaching is the reason why “she” is as good as she is. Coaching student athletes are always bigger than the game or us coaches!