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.