Every day for two hours, youth athletes are left to the care of and trusted with someone other than yourself. Subliminally and purposely, imparting their values and ways of doing things on our sons and daughters. Six to eight hours a week, for at least three months, your child is under the influence ofanother adult. When thinking about sports we don’t think of the coach as anything other than a coach.
We should be asking ourselves, would we choose these same coaches to be your child’s mentor? Wins and losses are why we keep score, but values and life skills should be the starting point of any coaching evaluation. The importance of being a positive influence and a leader to the youth can have an immeasurable effect on the community. Whatever gap these individuals may be missing at home can be filled subtly by the coaches at practice. BUT before that can take place, these coaches must be properly evaluatedand equipped. If we lived in a perfect world, all youth leagues would have some form of certifying system to ensure the best coaches are in place. Considering the current state of affairs, we would also consider a class on mental health so coaches will be able to recognize certain traits associated with mental issues. A first Aid and CPR certification should be the national requirement for all youth sports leagues. Sadly it’s not and many leagues don’t require any certifications at all. Coaches should be required to utilize basic formations to promote developing the fundamentals of sport. Far too many coaches are skipping steps and relying on athleticism instead of taking the time to build a firm foundation.
One national example of fundamental training is “Heads Up Football’’ though it is not required nationally, it is available as a resource for leagues to adopt. Programs such as these could change the course of leagues that are not governed as closely as they should be. As these systems are implemented, teams will gradually develop more sound athletes. Leagues will develop from the top down and will become better as a whole. The product put on the courts, fields, tracks and in gymnasiums will be more productive. The community benefits from more involved and understanding participants. These individuals are given a better chance to be positive contributors in the classrooms, universities, offices and board rooms. Sports can be about more than wins and losses; it can be about developing leaders and building communities.