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Role of a Coach in Athlete Development

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sports
Wordcount: 3262 words Published: 15th Sep 2017

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Jarod Pender

The famous basketball coach of UCLA that set the record for most championships, John Wooden once said “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession”. Coaches play an important role in the development of young athletes that carries on with them as the becoming adults. The most important factor in an athlete’s development is how they are treated by the coach. As we will see coaching is an important building point in the lives of young athletes and this is a main factor in how they develop into adults. From being a parent like mentor to these athletes and showing them important skills it is important that coaches take good care of their athletes. An important point made by John Wooden is that “Young people need models, not critics.” John wooden was a pioneer in coaching and clearly his methods worked because he had an astounding record and many titles to his name from his success at the UCLA. He broke the record of winning 7 championships in a row and won ten in twelve years. His coaching standards have been changed from modern times but he set a winning standard in coaching, and many of these ideals in the following were his ideals. From many of the points that will be brought up in this paper you will be able to distinguish the difference from acceptable coaching to poor coaching.

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Firstly, Coaches have an important part in the development of the physical growth of young athletes. Coaches have a strong say in how much athletes exercise and stay in shape. Many coaches have their athletes highly active in lifting weights or conditioning. Some coaches have their athletes work too hard and they put their bodies at risk for injury that they have to continue in fear of losing playing time. Many athletes do not realize that they can speak up about the pain and that they think they have no say in the matter, but they do it’s their body. If an athlete is too scared to speak up about an injury then the coach is putting too much pressure on the athlete and is putting them at high risk for injury. An athlete has a right to keep his own body safe and healthy, but if the coach only wants to win then they might feel pushed to keep playing through the pain. As we look throughout this paper we will see this is only one of many bad characteristics of a bad coach and this alone can not only risk the athletes health, but it can ruin the ability for the athlete to trust people close to them. It is common in basketball for coaches to run their athletes until they puke or just about. When coaches do this they put their athletes in danger of exhaustion, heat stroke, and possible sicknesses. Coaches need to understand where to draw a line between improvement and damage. It is the same way for lifting weights if an athlete is doing too much they can put themselves at risk. Also coaches of all sports need to realize that they need safe, but aggressive drills to keep their athletes safe and allow them to last the whole season without excessive injuries.

Secondly, Coaches have an important part in the development of the mental growth of young athletes. Coaches can play many roles for athletes in life such as: father or mother figures, mentors, a boss, or friend. Based on this we can see how the coach will develop the athletes mental growth. If the athlete thinks of the coach as a father or mother figure the athlete probably is a positive, but strong influence on the athlete pushing them to succeed allowing them just enough pressure to grow, but not letting them break. If the coach is viewed as a boss the athlete probably does not expect much from the coach besides coaching and improving as an athlete, they will not look for support or encourage from this coach. If the coach is viewed as a friend, then the athlete just wants encourage from the coach and will not likely want this coach putting lots of pressure on them. As athletes get older they can handle more information, stress, and other things that come with being an athlete, but certain coaches’ control when they grow into this. Many athletes experience a coach when they are young that is considered a bad coach, one who puts winning above his players, this grows into the player over the years. What many players do not realize is maybe that middle school coach or even younger set them up for how they handle pressure in the future from a development in their young years. With this mental growth can come the ability to play mind games with the athletes which indeed can cause damage to the athlete in their ability to trust people long term without worries of alternative motives?

Thirdly, Coaches have an important part in the development of the spiritual growth of young athletes. Many athletes in Christian demographics look to their coach for guidance as they can relate to being a Christian athlete, but this can get tricky. Depending on the coach whether or not they are Christian can affect the role they play on the athlete. Obviously if he or she does not give good spiritual advice because he or she is not a faith oriented coach it is going to cloud the judgment of the athlete. Another issue is if the coach is a Christian and he or she pushes Christian ideals, but he or she does not follow them when he or she coaches his or her athletes. Many people would agree with the statement “do not talk the talk, if you can not walk the walk” because if you tell your students you need to be encouraging as a person to be a Christian, but are a jerk coach then you set a horrible example. Like many things even if it is not spiritual, if you can not follow your own rules you set for your players then you should not force your athletes to follow them. In a world where hypocrisy is flourishing it makes it hard to set a standard and follow it, but if you can not absolutely follow the rules you set for your athlete’s maybe you need to seek help so you can fix this problem you have. At these youth and teen ages many kids are looking for a spiritual mentor and if someone ruins this for them at a young age then it might ruin how they grow up in the faith, which could force them from it all together. We all need someone to guide our way if we do not then we can fall prey to the random evils around us everywhere. Most kids if they do not have good role models in cities where crime can be a problem they can get involved with the wrong kids or crowd and lead a poor lifestyle. When these kids follow these poor lifestyle choices it can lead to drugs, abuse, gang activity, jail time, or just a poor life because they did not take things seriously and they let it go to waste.

Fourthly, Coaches have an important part in the development of young athlete’s self-esteem. Many studies show that if a child is supported as a child that he or her will have a better chance of being confident growing up. It is the same for children who are constantly put down they will have confidence issues when they grow up. While yes some kids can be supported still growing up not confident in themselves or the complete opposite make an adult of themselves after being left alone. While these studies are evident I think there is one thing that can link many of these cases together, many people in their lives attempt to play at least one sport. While many people play on sport in their life it is often they quit after one sport because they are discouraged and thus do not feel like they want to be bad at something. Many of these people lacked one thing in their experiences: a good coach to encourage them to keep trying, motivating parents, or the drive to succeed. While you do not all three to be a good athlete have a coach that encourages can make up for the lack of the other too. While not everyone can have supportive parents it is important that coaches can play a little bit of that parenting role by being there for the athlete and supporting them. While there may be a lack of studies proving that coaches play such a high role in the development of athletes I really believe in the next ten years it will be clear and evident how coaching effects these athletes long term. When we see these effects we will be able to identify who had good, moralistic coaches and those who had the bad coaches through their development. While yes there will be variations and deviations from the pattern like the successful business man or woman, or whatever genders will exist in ten years, who pushed through the abuse and degradation of his skills, attitude, or himself from his high school coach to use it as a motivation to succeed and be better.

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Fifthly, Coaches have an important part in the development of how young athletes handle pressure. If young athletes are giving large amounts of pressure this can over load how they handle things, while it may prepare them for the future you should never put too much pressure on a youth athlete. If you put too much pressure on a young athlete he or she might quit the sport, become discourage, or just easily become frustrated. Pressure management is an important role in coaching youth as they are the future of our sports and world. Growing up playing sports I can agree when a coach puts too much pressure on an athlete a couple of things may happen: one the athlete overcomes the pressure pleasing the coach, the athlete does an average job not over impressing the coach, or the kid completely crumbles under the pressure. If the athlete completely crumbles under the pressure it could leave a lasting impression on the athlete mentally and emotionally, which could stay with them way until they are a grown adult making big decisions. If an athlete can consistently succeed under pressure the coach will obviously put more focus and effort into coaching this athlete over others because he or she will help the team more. Most athletes fall into the middle category they complete the task, but it is not as impressive and does not leave wow factor. These athletes are going to either grow into people who can take pressure more than before, will stay as mediocre, or some will fall into the problem of crumbling under pressure. It is important while these young athletes are growing to realize that how much pressure we put on them can affect them for the rest of their lives, but if we take it for granted we can let our goals come before the development of these young athletes we are trying to grow. While pressure can come from good or bad coaching it is how these coaches handle the pressure they give and how they react to the outcome of the athlete’s response to pressure. Some coaches may put pressure on the athletes to try out a starting spot for multiple athletes, which develops competition which helps develop aggressiveness for fighting for the spot. On the opposite spectrum a coach could put too much pressure on an athlete and then freak out on the athlete when he or she is not good enough for the coach’s expectations. Many criminals and addicts have something in common, they were missing a role model in life. Many of these people realize that your parents can not always be your role model, that it where coaches come into play. Many sources believe that the longer that athletes stay in sports the more likely they are to stay out of trouble, which is due to the fact in sports kids have to have decent grades, stay drug “free” and stay out of trouble in school to stay eligible for their sport. Even to the fact that people admit if they would have stayed in sports they would not have gotten hooked on drugs, joined a gang, or even just kept on a better path. In my life I have personally seen friends who have stopped playing sports and their lives really took a turn for the worst. Luckily I have not had any friends fall into drug addiction, but while I have not experienced this there can be 15 people in Adrian alone who have seen or been in this exact situation.

Sixthly, the development of young athletes can be drastically changed by the effects of bad coaching. While many coaches work hard to improve the lives of the many young athletes that come through their programs, it does not matter how many good coaches there are because there will always be bad coaches. What is considered a bad coach you may ask? Well if you do more than one of the following you may be a bad coach: yell at players constantly, do not encourage them, pressure them into playing through injuries, lack patience, are hypocritical in your coaching, play favorites, play mind games, force them to keep what happens in practice a secret, coach with a negative attitude, say your team is the worst you have coached, degrade players. If you take part in one or more of these activities in practices, games, workouts, or any other setting where you are the coach then you may be a bad coach. While many coaches who are completely awful coaches may not know they are a bad coach, there are a few who do realize what they do. If you realize you bully your athletes you need to either change or quit, because you are only helping yourself with the salary if all you do is breakdown your athletes every day in and out. These tendencies can easily be passed down if you ingrain it into the minds of your athletes. One of the main problems is that many coaches who partake in these problems have good teams or programs so while they are awful coaches, they still get wins which makes them look unlikely to get fired. It can seem impossible for some coaches who bully their athletes who coach in a good program to get fired but as soon as they have a bad season they have good chances of getting fired. With these chances sometimes being slim it can be difficult for parents to deal with these hard to work with, devil like beings, the best thing you can do is try and encourage your athlete and try and make sure to keep the coach in check as much as possible. While you may be tempted to talk to the athletic director sometimes the athletic director is very bias towards protecting who he or she has hired and will not do anything against the coach even if he or she is truly wrong which happens commonly at schools all crossed the country.

Seventhly, the development of young athletes can be drastically improved by the effects of good coaching. While it might be easier said than done if you just say be the opposite of the last paragraph, it is not that simple. To be a good coach you have to have a love for three things: God, your athletes, and the programs development. Having a strong spiritual structure can help make your coaching easier because following the bibles teaching helps your be more encouraging. Also none of the things that make a bad coach are good in the bible so it is easy to stay on track. The other step of having a love for your athletes. To be a good coach you need to truly love your athletes, not the jerry Sandusky type of love, but the type of love that you view the athletes as sons or daughters. If you view the athletes in your programs like sons and daughters it makes it much easier to make the right decisions for these young athletes, which in the long run will make you a better coach then before. If you love someone like a daughter or son you will treat them with respect, tough love, and will want the best for them. Lastly you need to have a love for the program. A good coach just does not care about his current team, but he or she cares about the future of the program. Good coaches constantly have camps for the future of the program so they can develop their future teams better. If the coach only cares about the current team and not the future of their program they may lose young athletes to other programs or schools simply because they payed more attention to the young athletes. This has become a growing trend in many programs in the past years as they need the future to succeed in weaker years. Many good coaches use this technique to build solid programs for many years because if a varsity coach works with elementary kids they will be more likely to stay and possibly bring friends to the school as well. Also if a younger athlete has better skills to improve to future teams the more likely the coach will keep his job if he or she has multiple years off success. The problem with this is in year of skill and ability drought he or she may decide to play under classmen more than upper classmen to look for the future of his program, because he or she can make up for a bad year this year if he or she has a great season the following year.

In conclusion, from all the papers and information I have read over the past couple of weeks it is clear and obviously how to define a good, moralistic person who is a coach. A coach is not defined by the wins he or she gets on the court, field, or arena; but by the athletes he or she develops while they are in his or her program. From the many parts of coaching we hit in this paper many of them seem to boil down to who the coach is morally, if he or she are morally a bad person they will not most likely be a good coach. From building these athletes in to the person they will develop in to as a man or woman, these coaches lay the building blocks for these boys and girls. If they lay the foundation poorly either it will affect the structure immediately and someone will have to fix it or it will build up until it all collapses later in life. It is very important that when they men and women are given the opportunity to lay the foundation of the lives of our boys and girls that they make the right, moralistic decisions that will make them grow in amazing men and women. It is important if you are going to build a house to put in a correct, secure foundation; because if you do not then the possibility of the house being damaged later on is more of a higher possibility. That is why when you go to build a house or a building you make sure you have good, competent builder to secure a foundation that will last for generations. In this metaphor the coach being the builder and the boys and girls being the foundation of a house really works well as it shows the possibilities of where the coaching will take the athletes in their futures. When we look for someone to coach our young boys and girls we should take more care to look into the person to verify they will the type of person to make our boys and girls in to the best kids they can be and if they become good athletes too then that is the bonus. We live in the era of people looking for a coach who is going to get wins, but this is a faulty ideal because if the coach mistreats the athletes or does not grow them then you can be doing more harm than good. We need to be more focused on a coach that develops hard work through encouragement, not through punishment. I do think sometimes punishment is needed, but some coaches use punishment as a fear tactic to push athletes in the wrong way. This idea of “coaching” definitely will cause some athletes to perform, but others definitely will not respond well to this coaching style. As we continue through this new generation of athletes I think more data will come out after seeing the effects of coaching on the last few generations of athletes, at this point we will find out just what the poor coaches caused and what the good coaches created out of these boys and girls.


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