The Catalysts of Character Development in Athletes

“Parents, coaches, referees, teammates, and community members … as ‘role models,’ can influence young athletes in positive ways. They, in a sense, can become the foundation for an athletes’ character development.” —Houghton College, Western New York, February 25, 2005

This is a foreign concept to many of the high-profile athletes and coaches in the news today. But it is how it should be. Sports, when played right, should make athletes better people. We are falling far short of this ideal. All five of these categories of people have huge potential to be catalysts for character development in young athletes.

1. Parents: Should be upholding standards of fair play, not berating refs and indulging in fisticuffs.
2. Coaches: Yes, we should expect them to be role models and teach character, not winning at any cost, Mr. B.
3. Referees: Should be good, honest people who do not bait players like recently suspended MLB ump Mike Winters did with Milton Bradley. All referees make mistakes. Let their mistakes not be mistakes of character, but mistaken calls. Let there mistakes be few and, most of all, let them be honest mistakes.
4.Teammates: Young men and women, you have the potential for great good. You don’t need to be selfish poor sports. Rise above it and triumph in the game of life. And most of all, let your character be compelling enough to affect those around you.
5. Community Members: Can make a huge difference in young athletes’ lives … IF they care about the athletes more than the outcomes of the games.

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3 Responses to “The Catalysts of Character Development in Athletes”


  1. 1 Frankie September 27, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Character = massive doping

    Steroids = power/strength

    Amphetamines = emotion

    Cortisone = no pain

    Prozac = fearless

    Coach = drug dealer referral source

  2. 2 yorel47 September 27, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Point well made.

  3. 3 Coach Harris August 31, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Coaches are nearly as powerful if not more powerful than parents when it comes to the experience and expectation of how one is to behave. Coaching 4 Life is a grass roots concept that not only provides coaches with concepts but tools that help parents and society re-enforce positive social expectations. For more information about Coaching 4 Life, check out http://www.coaching4life.us. Wade Salem, Founder and author for coaching 4 life is a powerful and intentional speaker that if nothing else, gets you to stop and question why we coach.


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