Remember What's Important

By Rachel Long

Coaches' responsibilities as role models are brought to life through real situations that confront them on and off the field, providing a healthy balance between the playful side of sports and the seriousness of competition. Coaches should help their athletes develop respect for opponents, teammates, officials, and rules of the game.
Coaches should be reminded to give kids the most positive environment possible within which to learn and enjoy competition in athletics. The ultimate goal, as always, is to develop the best skills possible for the event. But more importantly, coaches must guide the athletes in developing themselves into successful people.
A coach, or role model, should strive towards taking success in the development of the players' talents and their love for the game. Coaches should NOT gauge success by wins and losses. A coach with a positive attitude should continue to teach skills and sportsmanship rather than a "win at all costs" attitude. No longer can coaches gain respect and effort from players by yelling "My way or the highway!" All players like the type of coach whose leadership is trusted because he or she shares trust within his team.
The focus should be placed on providing players with a positive environment to learn and play. Coaches and parents should realize that the main objective of the game, as well as any other activity, is to have FUN. However, I believe it is the coach's job to ensure that all players are treated as equals when teaching a sport. Players need to be recognized for individual skills as well as team efforts, positive rewards for everyone in one way or another.
It is important that coaches give each child the opportunity to play each position, so he or she can find out where his or her talents lie. Some coaches force kids to play positions with they which might not be comfortable or they do not like. It is important that the players learn comfort and enjoyment with the game first. Even the best players are going to make mistakes. A coach should try to keep all errors in a positive perspective so that the players can learn from them and hopefully improve upon them. Role models, such as coaches, need to set example for kids by showing them how much coaches enjoy the players' efforts and the game–win, lose, or draw.
I think there would be good and bad qualities to being a coach. I think the difficult part of coaching is not the plays and the strategies, but how to deal effectively with people– the players, their families and the league.
For example, Bobby Knight is the head basketball coach for Indiana. He has a "bad attitude" towards his players and referees on the court. This head "coach" has thrown chairs, yelled at the referees, and has caused many scenes at his games. He has been thrown out many times for the way he has acted. If I was a player on his team, I would be extremely embarrassed. I would not want to play on his team.
A coach can tell a "true sport" because he or she shows a combination of values and attitudes, all in a positive light. Sportsmanship is that quality of honor that desires to be courteous, fair, and respectful, and is interpreted in the conduct of athletes, spectators, coaches and school authorities. Sportsmanship is blending of cheers for the "home team" and applause for the "visitors," observing the letter and spirit of the rules, showing consideration for opponents and playing by the code of conduct, "treat other participant's and spectators as you would want to be treated."
Fundamentals of Sportsmanship:
1. Show respect for opponent at all times.
2. Show respect for the officials.
3. Know, understand, and appreciate the rate of contest.
4. Maintain self-control at all times.
5. Recognize and appreciate skill in performance regardless of affiliation.

Coaches should teach the lessons of good sportsmanship–playing the game hard but fair, winning humbly, and losing gracefully. Coaches should also help develop respect for discipline and authority, playing and living by the spirit as well as the words of the rules. Each player will always have the challenge to work toward development of a "Champion" for each day.
In closing, it is the development of skills,