I've written about the important role youth coaches have in the lives of youth athletes. The influence goes well beyond the field, the court, or the arena. Anyone who has had the experience of playing for a great coach knows exactly what I'm talking about.
I was told by a YMCA director that years from now the kids I coach today will still call me coach, and I have the opportunity shape their lives. I'm been coaching kids for over nine years, and I'm not sure if our paths will cross when I'm older, but when they speak of me I hope they are able to speak well.
More than a coach
I attended an event last week in Indianapolis put together by the All Pro Dad organization
to celebrate the 100th All Pro Dad's Day breakfast at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis. The featured speaker of the event was Tony Dungy, and several former and current NFL players were in attendance.
Some of the players in attendance played for the Colts Super Bowl winning team a few years ago. These players were given the opportunity to share some of their thoughts and experiences playing for Coach Dungy. Very few of them talked only about their on-field player to coach relationship with him. Most of what they shared extended beyond that.
That unique quality makes great coaches
What I heard was an example of that unique quality which separates a great coach from a good coach. With Coach Dungy it wasn't just about succeeded at winning football games, and a championship, but about success when it comes to preparing his players for life itself. That is the unique quality which makes great coaches great.
Below is the video I recorded of their comments. Tony Dungy has succeeded at the highest level as a coach, ane when you let his players tell it, he has a succeeded at much more, he is a great coach.
What would you like your youth athletes and kids to say to or about you when asked to share their experience?
Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. is a sports parent of three, and writes on sports parenting. He has played sports for over 30 years, including the collegiate level, and coached youth sports for the past eight years.