Monday, November 24, 2008

Bring Out the Best in Your Youth Sports Team by Setting the Example

By Greg A. Marshall

Bring out the best ... in your youth sports team, in yourself, and in your team's parents. So, how do you do this? By setting the example - in the way you coach, the way you think, and the way you behave. We all hear the horror stories of coaches whose bad examples of preferential coaching treatment, poor sportsmanship, and negative attitudes seem to hold sway on youth sports.

But it doesn't have to be that way. You CAN be the coach who sets a positive example in these and other areas. What's more you can lead by example, showing the way for other coaches and parents to see your positive demeanor and honorable character as a yardstick for themselves, perhaps. Even if your behavior doesn't change another coach's style of coaching, at least you will always be able to know that you conducted yourself in an honorable and sportsmanlike manner.
Certainly, if nothing else, you can be the best possible example for your team's players, parents and "extended family." If your players see you as a coach whom they can trust - who conducts himself honorably, and treats the team fairly, they will respond to you better in the long haul. What's more, they will move on from your team and carry some of those attributes to their next team and allow them to develop their own sense of fair play and "best behavior."

This works for parents as well. Those parents who tend to behave poorly during a game will be more likely to temper their behavior if they observe that you keep yourself under control. Even if they don't change their behavior long term, they will generally be motivated to "tone it down" by the rest of the parents on your team "buying in" to your style of coaching. This encourages the parents to be more mindful of their attitude and actions than they might normally.

But the best possible result? It may cause a youngster to stop and think, "I'm going to play fair because my coach does."
And THAT is well worth the effort.

Greg A. Marshall is the creator of, a unique website offering excellent teaching and coaching tools for coaches and parents of very young baseball enthusiasts. The resources on the website are designed for the parent or prospective youth coach who is overwhelmed at the prospect of starting from scratch. The website and materials offered are full of practical advice to help youth coaches from the very first day of practice.
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