If someone asked you right now, "What is your coaching philosophy?" could you answer without hesitation? Hopefully, you can answer "Yes!" and then immediately explain your philosophy from memory.
An important aspect of Responsible Coaching is communicating your coaching philosophy from the very first time you meet your players, their parents and even your fellow coaches. We recommend your Responsible Coaching philosophy be from the heart, along the lines of: "I am a Responsible Coach, so my goals, include using sports to educate and prepare children for life, helping them have fun, teaching technical skills and striving to win."
You can also write out your coaching philosophy and distribute it to your players and their parents. When faced with tough coaching decisions, you can consult your philosophy, which can help guide you down the right path for you and your players.
Communicating your coaching philosophy to your players and their parents sets a framework for your relationships and demonstrates some forethought that parents will welcome, whether they and their children are new to youth sports or have experienced many different coaches in various sports before.
Explaining your philosophy at the start of the season is just the beginning of your Responsible Coaching. You truly become a Responsible Coach by living out your philosophy on a daily basis.
For example, you might find yourself starting a lot of sentences with, "As mentioned at the beginning of the season, I am a Responsible Coach, which means…"
Here are some examples of ways to end that sentence:
- "…our season is about more than wins and losses; it’s about learning and improving on our skills in every practice and game and adding new skills all the time."
- "…it’s important to me that we all are safe, so please check all of your equipment to make sure it’s in good working order."
- "…we are going to Honor the Game today, so I'd like to see each one of you shake the official's hand when the game is over."
- "…I also want you to learn life lessons from our sport; as we learned from our last game, we can overcome major obstacles, including bouncing back from mistakes in the first period, as long we persist and believe in ourselves, and that is true for most anything you try to accomplish in school, your jobs or any other aspect of your lives."
As with any coaching message, we recommend you carefully choose opportunities to remind players and parents about your Responsible Coaching philosophy. When you recognize those moments and address them at appropriate times, you can have a huge impact.
To learn more about Responsible Coaching please visit ResponsibleSports.com.
In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports ProgramTM powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.