With another season of coaching around the corner (go Washoe Little League and Northern Nevada Sports and Recreation!) I have been reflecting a lot on what can make me a better coach and what can make my kids work better as a team. So, to follow up my “Help Me Coach Your Kid” article, I wanted to communicate my promise to you as your child’s coach. I have been blessed to have some great coaches in my life (especially high school and Babe Ruth level sports) who have inspired my views on coaching and putting it to paper for others to think about as well. This isn’t about coddling or being a hard-ass as a coach, but about setting expectations for performance and behavior to maximize a kid and a team’s potential for success.
A Coach’s Promise to You and Your Kid
- I promise to put your children first. This is their experience, not mine. This is their experience, not yours.
- I promise that I will be a positive role model for your children. My actions will be both honorable and respectful – towards our players and coaches, our opponents and their coaches, the officials, and all fans. I will lead by example. I expect the same from my players and from you.
- I promise to provide a physically safe environment. I will never physically abuse your child for any reason whatsoever, nor will I allow anyone else. I will ensure that safety equipment will be a priority, that all equipment is safe, and that your child is using equipment appropriate to their size and skill. While your child is in my care, I will protect them to the best of my ability to include personal risk to myself.
- I promise to provide a mentally safe environment. I will never verbally or mentally abuse your child in any manner whatsoever, nor will I allow anyone else. I will especially not allow anyone in the stands to do so either, including other parents and the children’s own. Constructive feedback and behavior correction are parts of the game, parts of life even, and the children will be expected to tolerate both with respect to their age and maturity level.
- I promise that I will treat each player as an individual with different degrees of physical and emotional development. I will expect them to operate as a team, but will be situationally aware of their different needs and sensitivities, especially at the younger levels.
- I promise to teach your kids how to play the sport and I will provide the opportunity to love the sport. I will teach them technique, rules, sportsmanship, and conduct. Again, I will offer constructive feedback and behavioral correction, but I will create an environment where mistakes are something to learn from. I will remember we are learning the sport for the sake of enjoying the sport. I will expect growth and will reject laziness and negative attitudes from my players.
- I promise to be competitive, to constantly improve on our weaknesses and develop our strengths. We will train, we will practice, we will condition, we will work hard, we will learn. We will not leave anyone behind that puts in the effort by giving 100% and being present as required. Most importantly, we will have fun.
- I promise to coach with class. I promise to win with class. I promise to lose with class. I expect the same of my team, will lead by example, and will be responsible for both my behavior and theirs. Good sportsmanship reflects character.
- I promise to hold my fellow coaches accountable for this promise. I promise to be held accountable by my fellow coaches for this promise.
- I promise to remember that none of us are perfect – neither me, you, or the kids. If at any point I am in violation of this promise, please bring it to my attention privately and we can get expectations for us all back on track. I promise to do the same.
That’s my promise. I will always add more to the list, but will never remove a single item as this is my model for coaching. I love sports, I love coaching, and I love to win – but I believe how you win is a critical component of actual winning. Winning the right way sets you up for future success and this model is the best way I can position my team and players for that success.
Thank you and have a great season!