Last year at a basketball game I witnessed what is wrong with youth sports. A coach who was more focused on himself than the kids on his team.
I unfortunately witness this kind of thing 1-2 times per week. As parents, I am sure you see it far more often than that.
It makes me sick to tell you the truth. I do not want to spend too much time focusing on the problem in this writing because solutions are needed. However, it is important to lead-in with the problem.
The game I went to was a 6th grade rec basketball game. My nephew was on the opposing team of the “Coach” as I will refer to him from here on out. He gets quotes because he is a wannabe.
My nephew’s team won the game 40-8, so clearly I have no reason to be displeased or mad at the opposing team’s “Coach”, aside from the way he “lead” his team.
“Coach’s” team, the Duke Blue Devils, had 6 players. This team of eleven year olds who play the game of basketball for fun (rec is the root word of recreational: FOR FUN) had ZERO fun. But that wasn't the worst thing that happened...
Here is “Coach’s” Leadership Style. He is more of a Boss than a Leader:
He yelled angrily on every single play when his team turned the ball over, made an error, did not “hustle” (6 players, how exhausted do you think they were?).
Side note...only 6 players showed up, I wonder why?
They lost 40-8, so you can imagine how much yelling happened. I videoed this but decided against putting the video up on social media. It would have went viral.
Who’s fault is that? As a leader I’ve learned I’M the problem AND the solution. He must not realize that his team is a reflection of his leadership, or lack thereof.
Well, I am sure that kid feels confident now and will be mistake free the rest of the game. (sarcastic tone)
I could go on and on, but I think you know EXACTLY what kind of “coach” this was. And that is the sad part. There are more of these “coaches” in sports today than the good kind.
Kids don’t choose their coaches, so they must develop unshakeable resilience and confidence.
After the game I went up to him. My sisters and mom were a little shocked. I told them that this was part of my purpose in life and that I “had to”. They laughed.
I asked him, “WHY do you coach? What’s your WHY?”. Lol, PFP people may laugh here.
He evaded that question but proceeded to tell me a bunch of other things indicating that he did not have a why. He just had his “ways”.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know I am a great coach. We practice too hard for this. They will listen and ‘get it’ eventually. I am a volunteer dude, I do this for free,” he told me.
I did not tell him he wasn’t a good coach, but he defended that.
I did not ask him if he was paid or not, but clearly that mattered.
I did not ask him how long he had been coaching, but he proudly told me he was a veteran “coach”.
I asked him WHY. Why do you coach!?
He doesn’t know.
I believe that what the Bible says is true. “The greatest among you will be their servants.”
Coaches are in a greater position of power than their athletes. Therefore, we must serve the kids and love them no matter what that requires of us. Discipling them, being patient with them when it’s hard, correcting them as needed, challenging them to do more and be more…
I strongly believe MY job as a coach is to serve the kids I am entrusted with and to lead them to be better than they were before they met me. That is what all of our PFP coaches have at the core of their “Why”. Do you have a WHY?
Stronger character, better players of course, better listeners, better teammates, harder workers...this is our target we aim at as coaches. There are a lot of “what’s” that happen to produce those “why’s”.
Don’t miss this...every coach is responsible for helping their athletes play better.
I do not see a lot of coaches actually teaching and leading them to play better. I see coaches pointing out what their athletes do incorrectly and then telling them the right way to do it, but very rarely do they actually help them play better.
Helping them play better happens off the court...coaching them in practice, mentoring them on their own time, building trust and a deeper bond with them, and working with them on their swing until the sun goes down if needed.
I also believe our job is to teach them how to be humble, hungry, healthy competitors.
To lead them to reach their full God-given potential as athlete’s AND as people.
Next week I’ll share my TOP 5 Coaching Tips to Inspire and Influence Your Athletes that I’ve learned over the past decade of working with student athletes.
PLEASE SHARE THIS or forward it along if you believe a few coaches you know could benefit. It is an important message that has the power to impact millions of kids around the world.
-Coach Andrew Simpson
P.S. I created the Confident, Courageous Athlete Mindset Course and the Becoming UNSHAKEABLE Masterclass BECAUSE kids cannot choose their coaches, But, they CAN choose to become stronger minded and believe in themselves whether or not their coaches are great or not.
I recommend this for your son or daughter. Plus, there are 15 bonus coaching videos for parents to learn how to be better leaders for their athlete’s as well. If you enter this one time code: BIGSAVINGS, you can get it for $400 off HERE.