Things were different back in 1979 when I started coaching football. Sure, you had your kids that had some character problems, but overall most kids had a pretty good moral foundation. We coaches focused primarily on coaching the X’s and O’s, athletic conditioning, and trying to win ball games. Things are much different nowadays. The kids have changed, but it seems that our coaching styles are stuck in the 80’s. It’s time we coaches enter the new millennium.
So I asked myself, “What does the world today ask for when they are seeking a sports coach?” “What is the job description that we are asked to fulfill?”. I “Googled” coaching job descriptions and what I came up with confirmed my suspicions.
For the most part, the typical coach’s job description looks like this:
Coaches Job Description: Instruct and work the athlete to prepare them for competition, instruct the athlete on proper form and technique in beginning and, later, in advanced exercises attempting to maximize the players' physical potential; oversee athletes as they refine their individual skills; manage the team during both practice sessions and competitions; select, store, issue, and inventory equipment, materials, and supplies; substitute players for optimum team chemistry and success; evaluate or "scout" the opposing team prior to the competition; direct team strategy and call specific plays during competition to surprise or overpower the opponent; be and expert on the rules, strategies, and techniques of the sport.
Sure, most coaches do those things, but they should be only a small part of what coaches do every day. Today’s coaches should spend most of their time coaching their player’s lives, not their athletic techniques. “Coaching” has evolved way beyond the confines of teaching sports skills and winning ball games.
The kids we coach today live in a world tainted by vulgarity, violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity. Many have broken homes and broken families. The system has failed them and most have lost all faith and hope in adults and society in general. They are wandering in the wasteland looking for nourishment. For many of them, a sports program and a positive relationship with a coach is their best shot at turning their lives around.
We have a moral obligation to stop being “coaches” and to start being “COACHES”. Instead of being X’s and O’s guys, we need to focus on educating and inspiring our kids with virtue in order to help them reconstruct their moral foundations. We need to give them real tools to help them deal with the vulgarity, violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity temptations that they are bombarded with every day.
Are you yelling at one of your players about why he can’t get in a proper three point stance, while all the while he is thinking about whether dad will be drunk tonight and worried about his mother’s safety. The kid needs a “hug” not a “holler”. Do you really know what’s going on in the lives of all your players?
There isn’t a coach I know that hasn’t whined about how they used to be able to just coach their sport, but now they are forced to be baby-sitters, academic tutors, sociologists, counselors, psychologists, mentors, therapists, values assessors, theologians, personal trainers, and behavior modification experts.
Yup, that’s the new job description.
Welcome to the company.
By Randy Traeger
By Randy Traeger