Importance of being a Role Model

As a coach, it is important to remember that everything that you do both on and off the court is imbibed by the minds of your players. It is very important that you consider all of the ramifications of your actions before you commit to them because your players look to you for guidance and direction. A coach is a mentor who teaches his players how to develop themselves both physically and emotional.

As Jimmy Valvano the great NCAA coach of North Carolina said,” “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” It is important that as a coach you tell your players that you believe in their abilities to make appropriate and moral decisions. Let your team know as athletes their personal integrity is most important. Discuss with your team what having principles and a code of ethics means. Develop a team code of ethics and post it where your team can see it every day.

It is imperative that as a coach and mentor that you teach your players the founding principles of ethical behavior so that as they mature they understand what it means to make moral, sound decisions for themselves. It is important to teach your players the principles of making wise decisions on and off the court. When your team members are faced with tough decisions like fixing games for gambling purposes or feeling peer pressures with drugs and alcohol your support as a positive role model will help them make the right decision.

As Michael Jordan said,” “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” As a mentor, you must expect that you and your players will be good role models during practice, at games, tournaments, during school hours, and when out socially. Athletes are high profile individuals who are often idolized by other children and peers. It is important that your players are acting by school rules, state and federal laws, and have morally sound judgment. By expecting that your players are going to be good role models and then teaching them how to make sound decisions, you will be creating model citizens who can enter the workforce with responsible and self-sufficient attitudes.

As a coach, you are molding and creating the next generation of people who have the potential to the become caretakers of the future of our planet. Future doctors, lawyers, environmentalist, firefighters, lawmakers, government officials, professional athletes, writers, journalists, and the list goes on into infinity. You as a coach have in the palm of your hand the ability to shape and mold the self-esteem and moral compass of your athletes. Your example of good citizenship and moral fortitude can cause your team to influence their peers to behave with uprightness and ethical behavior which in turn create a more productive environment where positive things transpire.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University said, “I have a rule on my team: when we talk to one another, we look each other right in the eye because I think it’s tough to lie to somebody. You give respect to somebody.” It is important that you and your team can communicate openly with each other and that as a coach you build trust with each of your players. Below is a list of team principles that you can use as a guidepost to helping you make yourself and your players the best ethical role models you can be amongst your peers.

Team Principles for Excellence:

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Set goals and work to achieve them.
  • Respect your mind and body: Say no to drugs and alcohol.
  • Respect your coach, teammates, and staff.
  • Listen with an open mind. Allow others the chance to speak.
  • No using foul or abusive language
  • No gambling.
  • Share experiences, inspiring moments, and knowledge.
  • Do not judge others by their race, religion, or creed.
  • Do not lie, steal, or cheat.
  • Praise good works and actions.
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Keep differences off court. No fighting or violence.
  • Give everyone a chance to play.
  • Do not criticize your teammates but assist with improving each other.
  • Education and reading are important.
  • Take care of each other and ensure that you follow safety protocol.
  • Make a commitment to do your best.
  • Be on time to practice.
  • Smile and remember to have fun.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Practice the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.

Photo credit: Duchamp