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Table of contents

You like how they treat you. You love how it tastes and that it is consistently good. You like that they admit when they are wrong and give you a free coffee when they mess up your order. You like that the servers smile and are energetic. These things have nothing to do with the transaction of buying a coffee. Whether a club is selling development or selling winning and scholarships, both are still transactional. Parents pay money, clubs deliver what they paid for. As a result, parents are deciding which transaction sounds like a better deal, and sadly, the transaction about development is not nearly as exciting to a parent as a transaction about winning or getting a scholarship.

Think about how the following statements make you feel inside:. We let all the kids play a significant amount of time and learn different positions. We teach them to play the game the right way. That is a good developmental philosophy, but how does that make you feel?


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Does that excite you? Are you envisioning your future child with great fundamentals?

They certainly have not outlined anything that would make me feel loyal to them. The winning-comes-first organizations in the youth sports world might say something like this:. Our teams go to tournaments with hundreds of college scouts lining the sidelines.

Building Better Relationships Through Sport

Most of our players go on to play in college and get a scholarship to do so, and we have these kids come back and talk to your kids about what it is like. We provide the environment for the elite players who are serious about taking their game to the next level. I am not saying in any way that this organization is unethical, or is not developing players, or that winning is a bad thing.

All I am trying to point out is this: Can you picture your future child playing in front of college scouts?

Sports and Athletics – SLG Sports & Entertainment

Can you picture her playing in college or raising a state championship trophy? In other words, both of these clubs are engaged in a transactional relationship. Doing the right thing in terms of development is not a very engaging transaction for many people. Hence they leave. We can do much better. We can demand that our youth sports organizations become transformational in nature. A transformational organization puts the needs of the child in sport above the needs of the business. It focuses on developing the person AND the athlete.

It demands that its coaches are trained and held to a standard of excellence. Its coaches are trusted not only for their sport-specific ability, but their dependability and connection with athletes. They are evaluated and trained in motivation, communication, and being a positive role model.

Benefits for Both the School and the Student-Athlete

Individual athletes and teams come first, and the needs of the coach and club come second. It does these things because its leadership and membership demand it of the club. Transformational programs do exist. My friend Mark Speigel is in my mind one of the most effective and passionate youth coaches in the US. They teach so much more than soccer. It is not just a program for kids, it is a program for families. The picture on the left is an example of that. In the picture, the coaches are serving coffee and donuts to the parents as they drop their kids off to thank them for entrusting their children to the program!

Here are some of the other things Mark and his coaches have done to make this experience a transformational one for everyone involved:. I have had the opportunity to watch Mark and his coaches work, and it does not take very long to see that they are there to serve the kids. They get down on their level. They coach, lead and play with passion. They smile and enjoy themselves. They are clearly great friends on and off the field. Many of them have actually travelled to Nicaragua together to build sports fields in underserved communities.

How to Effectively Manage Coach, Parent, and Player Relationships

The kids — and parents — feed off their energy. A year-old can identify this faulty coaching method:. If the athlete played badly, he would know. He needed to hear something encouraging, not critical. If that happened to me, it would upset me all day… If it happened to this athlete…we all knew it could happen to any one of us at any time.

This method of building resilience has the reverse effect on kids. Resilience is fostered when a sports coach gently pushes athletes to the edges of their intellectual, emotional, social, and physical comfort zones. The method is a balance of support and encouragement through difficult challenges and obstacles.

Developmentally, this balance between understanding oneself and stepping into the unknown is at the core of resilience. Self-awareness develops in young people when they learn to examine and understand who they are relative to the world around them. This ability evolves through self-reflection, meaning-making, and the process of honing core values and beliefs. Oftentimes coaches are seen by athletes as dismissive. We were meant to feel stupid. As the Olympic study found, unwavering belief in athletes is exactly what builds confidence and well-being.

Specific feedback about performance helps boost self-awareness. Positive words translate into optimism and self-belief. I think we can improve your overall scoring. Children understand that specific feedback helps them learn about themselves. When they are encouraged to reflect on their performance, they most often take responsibility to improve. They grow to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Sports have the potential to teach children many positive values, like respect, fairness, cooperation, sportsmanship, responsibility, and humility.

In their desire to win at all costs, some coaches do not model integrity to their players.

Here is a description from a year-old on the impact of a sports coach who struggled to model positive values:. Smith was my coach he was like a pal, a best friend kind of guy. In scrimmages he would give us tips and be fun. When he became the team coach he was totally different. I was confused.

In fact, discipline is key to success in any sport.