If every youth sports team took the time to list their core values and then worked to implement them throughout the season, I think that things might look a bit differently in today’s youth sports culture. Coaches and parents are so busy buying uniforms, finding a place to practice, setting up volunteer lists, and organizing equipment that it’s way too easy for them to forget the value of youth sports. If you are a coach, or a parent with influence on your child’s team, it’s time to establish some team core values. These are my top 5, in no specific order:
1. Strive for Excellence
Encourage each player to always do his best as he learns to master fundamentals. This does not just apply to athletic skills, but in all areas of life: cleaning the dugout or sidelines, working hard in school to grades up, or doing chores at home.
2. Recognize Potential in Everyone
As parents and coaches, it’s your job to help kids find their sweet spot. Every child has potential in something, and if you can recognize that, you will see a child’s potential become reality.
3. Celebrate Every Victory
Big or small. Newspaper worthy or not. There are victories in every game and in every event if you are looking for them. Don’t let them get overlooked as you strive for championships and record-breaking stats. Sometimes those small victories are the only thing that keep kids from giving up.
4. Develop Leaders
Your goal should not just be to develop good athletes, it should be to develop leaders. These kids will not be playing sports all their lives, but they can be lifelong influencers. Some of the biggest leadership lessons my son learned were from his college coaches. You have their ears and their eyes on you; don’t waste the opportunity to make leaders of your kids.
5. Don’t Take the Game (or Yourselves) Too Seriously
Practices and games don’t always have to be all business. Lighten up! Have some fun. There is a time to laugh and a time to be serious. Find the fun balance.
What core values would you add to the list?
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