By: Danielle A.
I started playing organized sport at the age of 8, and I have been engaged in sports competitively and recreationally ever since. As most of us know, there are countless numbers of people that you meet throughout your sports career that have an influence on you; some of those people stay forever and become lifelong friends, others are those who you may only encounter that one time. For me, some of the most important of all the people I’ve encountered in my sports career are my coaches. For the most part, I have made strong connections with my coaches and have now realized how much they have had a positive influence on me, not only as a young woman, but also as an athlete. Because of connections I have had with various coaches I believe that they hold a high importance within the development of youth in sport.
Being the coach of any sport requires you to have a general knowledge of the sport you are coaching. For the most part, coaches who are coaching youth in sport have more knowledge and often better skills and techniques than the children they are coaching. Therefore, children often look up to their coaches and consider them to be role models. In class discussion of KIN 3093 Ethics in Kinesiology, we discussed the topic of where we develop/get our virtues from and Dr. Tymowski stated “Many people develop their virtues at young ages, often from their parents, coaches, and friends” (Dr. Tymowski, Personal Communication, Sept. 23rd, 2015). Coaches easily become role models for children. Children have delicate minds that easily pick up on things, so it is important for a coach to display good actions and speak with good intent as young eyes are always watching them. As a coach, you technically are a role model whether you desire to be or not.
Coaches are also mentors of youth. Coaches not only teach fundamental skills of a sport and how to be successful as an athlete but “there is a personal dimension of coaching that involves expanding their role to go beyond traditional, required coaching tasks and become a group of children’s mentor” (Bloom, Bush, Schinke, & Salmela, 1998). Mentors are meant to positively influence those they mentor starting by building trust. Therefore, mentors are usually dependable, engaged and authentic, which for the most part describes a typical good coach. Further within the same study, Bloom et al. explained that “athletes who had mentors as counselors, confidants, or positive roles models (like coaches) reported to have a higher degree of comfort to express emotions and commit to relationships.” So, by coaches acting as mentors and positively influencing the youth that they coach, they are setting their athletes up for good life qualities, such as expressing their emotions comfortably.
For someone to take on the role and responsibility of being a coach they must also understand there are extra titles that are attached to the title ‘Coach’. They most likely will be filling others roles to some youth such as, role models, mentors, and in some cases even a friend.
Bloom, G., Bush, N., Schinke, R., Salmela, J. (1998). The importance of mentoring in the development of coaches and athletes, The International Journal of Sport Psychology, 29, 267-281