Monday, February 11, 2013

How Coaches Train Leaders

For many young boys, coaches are the only positive male influence we see. For me, a coach was my first and only male influence I had. It was strange and unnerving at first. Took some getting used to. A coach is a lot different than a mom! Moms tend nurture and baby you. Coaches tended to yell to motivate you. There are no hugs and kisses like moms do. And there were no soft words of encouragement. It was mostly stern words and discipline. Something most boys like me desperately needed. For many of us, sports were the only structure outside the classroom we received. Structure was something else we desperately needed. We might not have listened to our parent(s) but we would listen to the coach.

We played football and have fun and hang out with my friends.  We received a lot more. We received life skills that would benefit me long into manhood.

Understanding the Benefits of Discipline

We certainly didn’t understand the benefits of up downs, sprints, and bear crawls as punishment for jumping off sides or moving before the center hiked the ball but we understood it years down the road. We laugh about it now. And for some us who are parents and coaches, we do the same things to our kids. I believe bear crawls are obsolete but I remember making my son’s youth football team do up downs and sprints for talking while we (the coaches) were talking or not paying attention or jumping off sides.  Sports like education can be a generational thing.

Teaching Values and Creating Memories

How many times have heard kids say they play football because their dads played? The best thing about sports (besides the exercise and camaraderie) is the time you get to spend with your kids. The moments and memories are priceless. They’re indelibly etched on in your and your son(s) minds. But just as sports can be a positive leadership learning experience, it can be a negative one as well. That’s part of life. Sports is life.  And it’s the coaches (the leaders) who make the difference.

(Leaders) Coaches Make the Difference In Our Lives

But for better or worse, coaches are human. And humans make mistakes. Lots of them. There are coaches who are too demanding. Coaches who want to win at all costs. Coaches who over the top.  And to be honest, there are coaches who down right insane. But believe it or not, most these coaches want the best for your kids and theirs and want to see them live to up to their potential.

Leaders are born and then MADE

And for most of us, it’s on the football field, baseball diamond, basketball field or hockey rink where we get our first taste of a leader and our first taste of leadership. It’s where get to be the quarterback, pitcher, the veteran or upperclassmen on the team, defensive captain, offensive captain or even team captain. They say leaders are not born but made. Not too sure about that. Seems like the leaders emerge and those leaders are made. The followers (and we need them) do great in their role(s) and continue to be supporters. And supporters are important. Can’t get anywhere without them.

 But like it or not, the most talented athlete, the most intelligent athlete, and the leaders always on the team always seem to rise to the top. And many times, these people go on to be leaders later in life.

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