Autumn is just around the corner and approaching quickly. Most middle schools and high schools will be opening very soon. The majority of these institutions will begin shortly after Labor Day. With these school openings, marks the start of many fall sport agendas. Football, soccer, volleyball and long distance running all have fall schedules. Most football programs usually start practices in the summer. Needless to say, some teams from these sports will end their season with a losing record and very few of them will experience the taste of a championship. But, a great season does not have to be measured strictly by a team’s win-loss record. There are many other factors that should be considered.
Remember, these are very young impressionable kids that are placed into your hands for guidance and leadership. You need to be a very responsible role model. A winning record and the hopes of a possible championship can seem very alluring on the surface, but not at the expense of your players learning the lessons of good sportsmanship and developing a mutual respect for all their teammates. It is important that they learn to win and lose as team and not as individuals. Every player on the squad should be treated as an equal by the coaching staff and their teammates. Ridiculing and criticizing should never be tolerated. Coaches are quite often as guilty of this personality flaw as some of their players are. So they need to remember to set the right tone because students will learn from their example. It is important that athletes learn the lessons of building strong bodies, but even more important is building strong character.
Participating in team sports should be a very healthy experience for both the mind and the body. Learning self-discipline is meaningful and can be carried over into all walks of their lives. These are all benchmarks that can make for a winning season despite a team’s win-loss record. Most of these kids will never play at a Division I college level and certainly very few will ever play professional sports, so hopefully this experience will help to mold them into responsible adults.
I also believe it is very important to instill in your players the meaning of giving back. The Bible teaches us that when you give, you get and that you reap what you sow. A couple of times throughout the season it would be good to get them involved in charitable causes.
Please keep in mind that participating in school sports should be a growing up experience, but also fun. It should be a coach’s goal that their players look back years later with a good feeling about their participation.