The Importance of Having a Qualified Coach

By: Philippe D.

Sports for youth have always been about having fun playing the game and being involved in physical activities at a young age allows you to develop good life skills. Being part of these organized sports myself at a young age; I have come to understand where the benefits are coming from. They are coming from being active and doing physical exercise with others, which allows you to gain social and physical skills. But after just recently finishing my fifth year as a student athlete, I have come to think of the role in which the coach has on the development of young athletes and the over all success of the team. The team’s sense of success has also been shown to correlate with important developmental variables in effective coaching. Making it interesting to think that if you grow up with a positive coach with the required skills you are able to obtain a great amount of developmental skills.

Growing up I had the same competitive soccer coach every year because he kept following the team while we were getting older. He was a well-qualified coach with years of experience. He had such a great coach-athlete relationship with every player on the team in his very own way. He really knew how to bring out the best in us. But at the same time not only was he able to make us excited to play he would also have a sense of control which made us not want to upset him in any way because he was very intimidating when he got mad. This brought out lots of quality’s in each of us. And you could see that those who did not want to follow the rules and accept the team’s philosophy would slowly stop playing as the years went by.

Transformational leadership is a form of leadership that occurs when leaders broaden and enlarge the interest of those whom they lead, motivate their followers to go beyond ones self interest for the good of the group and address and engage each individual followers in true commitment. And the degree of a coach’s transformational leadership has also been shown to predict athlete performance, task and social cohesion and intrinsic motivation. This brings me back to my coach and how he was always able to bring the team together and fight for each other. Coach’s now bring a sense to the game that winning isn’t always what it is all about. If you go out and play your heart out and leave everything you can on the field, at the end of the game no matter what the score is, you can be pleased with your performance and the team will still have a sense of accomplishment.  The ability to feel and see this in a team really brings great development with youth through sport. It is the sense of playing for the coach, playing for each other.

My team as a youth had won 4 out of the 6 possible championships in the six years we played together. Bringing a sense of family and partnership we all knew our responsibility and each had our own way to be leaders on the field and we could all only thank the one man who was able to manage us all together as a team and it was the coach. He had respect from all the players and parents who were connected to the team.

It has been shown that having a coach who is able to excel in having a great coach-athlete relationship and have transformational leadership behavior provides the best predictor in great youth developmental skills such as personal and social skills, goal setting and initiatives.

Coaches have a significant role in youth development through sport, which I feel there should be more emphasis on not just hiring the one father who is willing to coach but to start making it mandatory for all coaches to go through coach training. Seeing as we are entering our youth in sports to provide them with the skills needed in life, we should be as focused on getting them a coach who is willing to put the time and effort in providing them with the skills needed to succeed in sports and in life.

Vella, S., Oades, L., & Crowes, T. (2013). The relationship between coach leadership,  the coach–athlete relationship, team success, and the positive developmental experiences of adolescent soccer players. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 18(5), 549-562.

Hunhyuk, C., Seongkwan, C., & Jinyoung, H. (2013). The Association between the perceived Coach-Athlete Relationship and Athletes basic psychological needs. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 41(9), 1547-1556.

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2 Responses to The Importance of Having a Qualified Coach

  1. c4956 says:

    I agree with Philippe’s closing paragraph. As I too have been exposed to competitive sport throughout my whole life, I see the importance of having a qualified coach in any competitive sporting setting. A point that I would like to elaborate on are the always-evolving requirements and skills that coaches need today in order to prosper. Nowadays there has been a heavier emphasis on man-managing on top of regular coaching. There is now a greater importance on interpersonal relationships between coaches and players than has been seen in the past.
    Of course this kind of speculation on the personality of coaches is more prevalent in a professional setting. But how about your local competitive or recreational teams? As I am more focused on competitive play, I would like to suggest a change in the way that coaching certificates and licenses are handed out to individuals. Not to say that teachers or officials be stingier in the evaluation process of aspiring coaches, but to broaden the range of knowledge and skills learned during the teaching process. Following general guidelines such as placing an importance on respect between one and other, building relationships with your players and openness to new ideas. For coaches, these seem like simple enough guidelines to follow, but can sometimes be lost in the heated atmosphere of competitive sport.
    Growing up through the ranks of the FDSA program in Fredericton, I have been lucky to have received not only great coaches, but great people as well. As Philippe mentioned, though maybe not as consistently as him, I had only two different coaches from the u14 to u18 level. Both coaches brought slightly different ideas, yet the same passion for soccer. Everyone built a strong and unique relationship with each coach and players were always looking forward to being challenged. At fifteen years old, I traveled over to Serbia for a year and a half to play for a club over there. Despite being in a very professional setting, the only difference between this new coach and my previous ones were the credentials on his resume. Knowledge of the game, coaching tactics, and player-relations were relatively the same. In fact, the Serbian coach was probably more engaged with his players as we were all just one call or text away regarding any information such as meetings, practices, games, etc.
    This leads me to my next point that youth can immensely benefit from having an adult relationship with someone other than their parents. As mentioned, transformational leadership can be a key factor in a coach being seen as a personal mentor due to being the reason behind heightening one’s level of commitment or interest. This is imperative for the development of youth as they can gain more purpose and satisfaction through their actions.

    Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Middle Childhood

  2. Great piece Phil, very interesting read.

    Growing up playing competitive soccer I was always grateful to have qualified coaches with tremendous leadership abilities. It’s so important to have such a powerful leader in a coach who you can also bond with. I’ve had the same Goal keeper coach since i was eleven years old and he acts like a second father to me. Because of our relationship i don’t think I’d be where i am today if it wasn’t for him. The point in which you expressed leadership as a key quality in a coach I can’t agree more on. As a coach your goal is to lead and teach your team the ups and downs.
    I red book called “what a coach can teach a teacher” it was great book and I strongly recommend you read it.


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