Have you ever looked at a team and thought how horribly behaved and out of control the athletes were? Chances are that they were acting the same way that their coach does. If you are a coach, then you are a role model—the two go hand in hand. Your athletes are constantly watching you, and you have an enormous influence over the development of your athletes. So what role do you play in ensuring good behavior on your team?
Your attitude is contagious, especially in the “good sport” culture that most organizations are adopting. You must remember that their commitment to your team is the biggest commitment in their current life’s endeavors, so naturally you will become one of the most influential people in their lives. Lead by example and show them how to work as a team, to set and achieve goals, to develop time management skills and to promote a healthy lifestyle. This will shape values and behaviors for their adult life.
Although teaching the technical aspect of your sport ensures success in the eyes of your organization, it is the personal development that will encourage your athletes to be good people. Your athletes need to know that you see what they are doing, and need for you to believe in them. Holding them accountable for their performance will make them better at their sport, but giving them that emotional support before and after practice will help them gain the self confidence that they need to be successful for the rest of their lives.