Coach Brad · Development · Leadership · Youth Sports

Servant Leadership Examples for Coach, Parent, and Athlete

Albert Einstein

“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

-Albert Einstein

Theoretically it is very easy to say I want to become a servant leader but how can we put it into practice.  A greater understanding of servant leadership is needed and we provide that through specific examples of how a coach, parent, and athlete can use servant leadership.


  • Persuade each individual member of the team that a distinct playing style is advantageous to the success of the team and the development of the individual through examples of previous achievements.  The answer “Because I said so” is unacceptable.
  • Post game meals involving members of both teams and parents building meaningful personal and professional relationships.
  • Attend activities off of the athletic field or court featuring members of the team that promotes opportunities to see the athlete succeed in another type of setting.  This aids greatly in developing a positive, influential relationship.
  • Work with less experienced coaches to improve their abilities to teach and become successful servant leaders in all parts of life.


  • LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN to your child.  Be their number 1 fan and positive influence in their life.  It is their experience, let them play and limit critical analysis of their on field actions.  Tell them “I love watching you play” as much as you can!!!
  • Be committed to the growth and development of your child.  This progress happens through the culture established by the parent and coach.  The focus from all providers of influence on the athlete must be intentional positive interaction.
  • Accept and recognize people for their special and unique skills.  If your child participates within a program that has an emphasis on superior coaching quality, let the coaches use their abilities during team selection, training regimen, and playing time.  These types of coaches generally have years of experience and training related to the activity and have the best interests in mind for your child.  If the coaching is of a low quality, we suggest to move your child to a more responsible, development centered organization that walks the walk and talks the talk as far as their mission and values.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of your child.  What would you like the parent sideline to sound like if you were playing?  Would you like critical analysis prior to the game or on the car ride home?  Winning and losing is emotional and sometimes being there for a hug is what the athlete needs.  Make these years memorable by supporting their successes!


  • Train outside of standard practice time in order to become the best you can possibly be.  Take ownership of your abilities through this focused training.
  • Persuade others around you to become passionate about training, getting better, and the specific sport.  This can be done by organizing training sessions, pick-up games, and watching the game live or on television with friends.  Your drive and passion will become contagious.
  • Communicate with your coach about how you can improve within the specific sport.  This is not your parent’s responsibility.  Educated Coaches love it when a player asks them how to improve because we now know you care about improvement.
  • Understand that your parents want the best for you but do not always know what their role is.  Put the iPod, iPhone, iPad, or laptop down and initiate a conversation about the things you like and dislike they do at your games and training sessions.  Parents – This may be a difficult conversation but please be open to this conversation in order to create a better experience for you child.

Servant leadership is a complicated endeavor but when broken down into realistic experiences, becomes an endeavor that even “grandmothers” can understand. hopes that more individuals involved with youth sports can use the servant philosophy to create a culture of success and positivity on and off the field.

This ideals and message featured within this post can be of importance to coaches, parents, and athletes everywhere.  Be an advocate and tell people about the blog and how to follow it.  It is important in raising the level of sport everywhere!

Thanks for your support,

Coach Brad

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