“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.”
-Seth Godin (Leadership Expert)
With this being the final blog post of the Education of a Coach Series, I wanted to have another discussion about sport leadership. To catch up on all of the other posts in this series, please enter the phrase Education of a Coach in the search bar at http://educatedcoaches.com and you will have the ability to view each submission. Special thanks to Matt Nein, Matt Waymont, and Miguel Lopez for contributing to this thoughtful series.
Leaders within the athletic field that have received extensive education through experience, college courses, coaching education, or through multimedia outlets must take leadership roles within sport organizations. This is a call to action to create more positive experiences for participants from age 3 to 103. Whether it is a community sport organization, travel team, high school or college program, or an adult recreation program, educated individuals that understand leadership and how to create positive experiences must step forward out of the shadows and take charge of these organizations. The loudest individual or person that is currently in control is not always correct or creating the greatest opportunities and must be challenged if development, learning, and having fun are not the key aspects towards the sport program.
Educated Coaches and Sports Administrators cannot just sit on the sideline anymore and accept the status quo. Change is hard and extremely time consuming but worthwhile when it is done for the betterment of the participants. 2014 must be the year to create opportunities where the participants prosper, develop a passion for participation, and fall in love with learning. As coaches and leaders within youth sports, we must influence others to be passionate about what they do or step out of the way. We do not have compassion for even one poor sport related experience. When these types of experiences happen at a young age, it has a significant effect on exercise and participation habits into adult life. Make the experiences positive and future successes continue. Winning and losing is insignificant, fun and a positive experience are what matter – educated coaches and sport directors understand this and promote this throughout their organizations.
Parents – if you are not receiving what you want out of your child’s youth sports program, it is time to go look for another one. You would not accept mediocrity from the school your child attends so why accept it from the athletic program in which they participate. Do some research into the background of the person that will be working with your child. If it is average, not their full time job, or just a hobby for them, do not expect your child to have an amazing experience. The coach must have the passion for development and learning in order to transmit these ideas to the athletes. Either become educated and spread the word about creating youth sport success or find an organization that creates a worthwhile experience for your child. At the end of the day, when your child is looking back at their experience, they will remember how they were treated by the adults they worked with. I hope they are being treated in a caring and professional manner in which positive relationships, learning, and development are the key features.
Within other types of organizations, challenging the norm should be accepted. Leaders who are in decision-making positions should want followers that question authority to make the situation better for participants. “Going with the flow” is unacceptable. Make waves in 2014, show you are educated, demonstrate how much you care about serving the people you lead, create the opportunity for learning, fun, and development to happen even in a results oriented environment such as high school or college athletics. As the great coach Bill Walsh said, “Do all the right things to precision and the score will take care of itself.” A culture of learning, development, competition, and success can be developed if the leader has the knowledge and takes the time to infuse this type of environment into the program.
Athletes, parents, coaches, and fans want and deserve educated leadership that can provide a meaningful experience. In 2014, the leaders with a background based upon knowledge must take charge of these programs to promote the qualities of a successful experience for all participants. Take a chance in providing this leadership opportunity, believe in your vision, and make 2014 the best year for everybody within your circle of influence.
I look forward to providing you with many more posts over the course of 2014. Thanks for taking part in the blog EducatedCoaches.com.
Coach Brad Nein