Coaches Influence Youth

The utter collapse of sportsmanship and ethics seen in the Bill Belichick/Patriots scandal can be discouraging. Our culture today has enough role models who are “bad guys.” Sports figures, whether it’s right or wrong, probably command the most attention among young people. When young people see Patriots condoning the unethical behavior of their coach, it leaves an emotional impression upon them. If the Pats think Bill Belichick is “the best NFL coach ever,” then that’s how to play the game. Belichick and the Patriots have done a lot more damage than simply blackening the name of pro fooball.

There are people out there who are concerned about building character through sports in young lives. Here are a couple of excellent quotes.

Everything a Coach Says or Does Sends a Message About Values. Coaches are often the most influential adults in the lives of youngsters and adolescents. What they say and don’t say, do and don’t do – on and off the field – sends a message about values and reveals something about the coaches’ priorities and character. Thus, coaches must always ask themselves: “What message am I sending?”

Michael Josephson

We know what message Belichick sent.

Coaches are, first and foremost, teachers; they are among the most influential people in a young athlete’s life. Because coaches are such powerful role models, young athletes learn more from them about character than about athletic performance.

Needed: More coaches with these qualities. If certain pro coaches today had had coaches like this when they were young, perhaps they wouldn’t be cheating today, and besmirching the game.


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