Pre-Season practices are in full swing and players are meeting their new coaches. Many parents whose children are engaged in various organized sports are concerned about the safety of their kids as the encounter various coaches.

A coach with credibility will have to be respected by parents and athletes alike. The majority of coaches are trustworthy and have positive overall intentions. However, parents should be cognizant of several possibilities in regards to the goals and motives of a coach.

An outstanding coach focuses on character building
Coaches who are dedicated to positively impacting the lives of athletes and enhancing their athletic performance may be modeled after the late John Wooden who was the longtime basketball coach at UCLA. Wooden demonstrated his approach when he was asked about a particular coaching year. He said “I don’t know how successful I was in coaching these athletes, but I will know in about thirty years.” Wooden was committed to altering the lives of his young athletes by developing their character.

Wooden was committed to teaching lessons in character while coaching the sport he loved. He had very high standards for the conduct of his players and himself. Everyone on his team was fully aware of what was expected of them on the court, and off the court as well.

An exceptional coach has a focus on developing winners
A good coach will be dedicated to positively impacting the athletic career of the young athlete. A more limited goal is normal. Many coaches focus most of their time and energy solely on developing physical skills and strategies for games. With the goal of winning championships and furnishing athletes with the experience and skills to enhance their athletic performance. In this scenario, the sport is the primary focus, rather than the life journey of the athlete.

Some coaches are focused on building their own ego
This type of coach is obfuscating his motivation to satisfy his own selfish, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs. This type of coach will frequently verbalize loft goals for those in his organization, but people will observe that he is not really commuted to realizing those goals. This type of coach will be deceptive, in attempting to satisfy his own ego, which is his primary goal. This can be witnessed by:

-Improving his own job security by winning more games
-Become irate over a poor performance which embarrass him
-Criticizing and castigating athletes
-Have relationships with athletes that are not appropriate
-Bragging about victories

Parents Game Plan: Check out the coach and check in on your child
To cope with coaches of youth sports, parents must have their own game plan. A good game plan will involve checking out the coach and checking in with the athlete.

Check Out The Coach: This means to engage in due diligence regarding a coach.

-Inquire about the character of a coach with others
-Attend practices upon occasion as well as games to observe how the coach reacts and behaves
-Become acquainted with the coach through informal and formal meetings and events
-Be wary if a coach is not fond of interacting with parents

Check In With Your Child: You should solicit from your child a direct measure of their experience.

Regularly converse with your child about the experience and interactions he or she is having with the coach and the team at large. Be sure that your child is treated respectfully and that there is accountability for team standards and that your child feels comfortable with the coach. Do not interfere with the coaching, but stay abreast of what your child is learning and practicing. Question your child regarding the way the coach interacts with the athletes and how they are treated by the coach both during competitions and at practices.

It is a good idea for you to convey to your child that coaches have a variety of differing coaching styles and that those differences aren’t the deciding factors in determining if they have a competent coach. An athlete should be aware that every coach has some valuable insights to convey that will aid the athlete’s development. Nevertheless, the young athlete should also be aware that each coach is responsible for treating athletes respectfully, and that you would like to be made aware when this is not true.

As a parent, you can be discriminating as to which types of environments you allow your child to take part in. You can only do this effectively if you take the time to check out the coach and check in with your child. Take some time to investigate the background and reputation of a coach and the manner that her or she treats the athletes that they are responsible for coaching. In addition, make sure that you regularly check in with your child, to see how they are being treated and to monitor any events that seem questionable.