Coaches spend a good portion of their week with your kids (maybe even more hours than you do). So when it’s time to hand your child over to a new coach, what should you know about that new influence in your child’s life? Here are some important points to consider:
- Will the coach respect my child, and equally important, will my child respect the coach? Mutual respect between the coach and player is a key to forward progression and improvement for the individual and the team as a whole.
- Is the coach a good role model? Are the attitudes, behaviors, and words the coach exhibits worth repeating and imitating? Remember, your child will be spending a lot of time around this individual, and no amount of expertise in a sport is worth sacrificing character and integrity.
- Does this coach consider their position a privilege? Coaches need to understand how they are impacting the youth—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. The coach that does not see their responsibility as a privilege could harm a child’s growth by coaching from a selfish perspective.
The Bible speaks to the issue of harming a child or causing a child to stumble.
“Whoever receives a little child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck, and that he be thrown and sunk in the depth of the sea!”
A leader who understands that coaching children is a privilege must also have the skill set to impact, refine, and build-up others. A coach’s impact on players should always be positive, while improving upon the skill level of the child and instilling confidence.
Here are a few more practical aspects of choosing a coach:
- The Recruitment of Players. If a coach is actively recruiting your child, it is important that there is trust on both ends. Do you believe in this coach? Are they showing you their true colors? Are they joyful, loving, peaceful, patient, kind, and thankful? Most importantly, do they exhibit self-control? Make sure the coach is painting a true picture of practice, playing time, position, and ability for your athlete.
- Pay Attention to Details. Does your coach show interest in you as the parent? Are they desiring to learn more from you about your child? Do they care about the learning style of your child? Is this coach communicating schedules, practice plans, roles of the coaching staff, informing you on team gear, game information, stats, team meals, travel plans, etc.? Does the coach discuss player advancements, qualities, and areas to improve? If your coach is wanting to know everything about your child to empower them to victory, this is the coach for your child!
- Game Management. A quality coach needs to know how to manage a game from start to finish—warm up, start, mid game, and completion. The coach should intuitively know when the best time to sub a player or switch up the systems of the play, when to ride the momentum, or to understand when it’s gone. They need to be able to communicate with the referee appropriately. The coach needs to work the crowd, to know when to calm them down and when to pump them up. A great coach instinctively makes the right changes, at the right time.
- Spiritual Discernment. Does your coach understand the role of the Holy Spirit? Do they tap into His power when they coach? When a coach understands how to be empowered before sessions, games and team talks, and when a coach is leading with God’s power and in God’s ways, there will be special results.
- Charisma: the Secret Ing redient! What does charisma have to do with coaching? Simply put, your coach needs to be appealing to others. They need to have the ability to get along with parents, players, and other coaches. The foundation of coaching effectively is being relational. The players need to find favor in their coach and have a role model they can aspire to emulate. Without charisma, how can that coach inspire, teach, and lead?
Coaches can be one of the greatest influences in your child’s life, or if not chosen carefully, one of the most disappointing and discouraging influences. Remember, that in both Coaching and Parenting, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but by God’s grace and mercy we continue to grow and strive for excellence for His glory.