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Giving Thanks for a Positive Youth Sports Experience

Coaches, Parents, and Players...

Today I am thankful for youth sports coaches who:

  • Treat every child as though they have a chance to succeed
  • Let their players address the banquet crowd with stories of what the season meant to them
  • Reach out to each player’s parents at least once a season to give them a brief update on their child’s progress
  • Realize that a child would rather play and lose instead of win and sit the bench
  • Have fun
  • Teach 
  • Do not play favorites 
  • Smile
  • Dodge league politics
  • Lobby for positive change
  • Laugh
  • Do as they say
  • Run laps with the team because maybe the coaches are also partly to blame for the mistakes that were made
  • Can look a child in the eyes and admit that he was wrong
  • Know the strengths and weaknesses of every player
  • Expect the best from every player while realizing that their circumstances might not always allow them to focus completely on the task at hand
  • Do not assume that every child loves the game as much as they do
  • Understand that sports are secondary to school work
  • Are not in love with the sound of their own voices
  • Do not treat a parent’s inquiry as a threat to his authority as the leader of the team
  • Yell words of encouragement
  • Are always looking to learn and improve

 I am thankful for parents of youth athletes who:

  • Volunteer
  • Do not speak poorly of their child’s coaches while the child is present
  • Cheer for both teams
  • Do not coach from the bleachers
  • Smile at games
  • Volunteer more
  • Do not angrily approach the coaches after a game
  • Do not force a child to participate in a sport that they do not enjoy
  • Let the coaches do their jobs
  • Do not put unnecessary pressure on their child
  • Volunteer a lot
  • Do not criticize their child
  • Talk about something other than the game on the ride home
  • Do not overbook their child with too many sporting activities
  • Enjoy the pure spectacle of children learning to contribute to a team

 I am thankful for youth athletes who:

  • Thank their coaches after every game and practice
  • Thank their parents for bringing them to and from their sporting events
  • Help teammates who are struggling
  • Lead by example
  • Never criticize a teammate
  • Practice as hard as they play
  • Do not talk back to the coach
  • Give back to their leagues
  • Never forget that every person on the team deserves their respect
  • Do not question an umpire or referee
  • Help an opponent up after a hard hit
  • Bust their butts to get whatever it is that they are going after
  • Achieve high grades
  • Play for that special feeling that comes from dedicating every ounce of energy towards a goal
  • Have kind words for their opponents after every single game, win or lose

I am thankful that our children are free to decide whether they’d like to kick a soccer ball into a net or shoot an Airsoft gun at a target but not be forced to do either.

I am thankful for green fields, blacktops, and frozen water with painted lines and supervised by caring adults.

And I am thankful to each of you who take the time out of your day to read the words that I have written.

Please take the time to recognize those who have made a difference in your youth sporting community over the past year. Sometimes a pat on the back is worth a thousand THANKS.

Marie Colavecchio November 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Well said Ron. Thank YOU!
carl wiser November 23, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Many years later, I still remember Mr. Calabrise, who met all of the above criteria for a great coach.
Dee Suttmeier November 24, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Very well said Ron. High school can be substituted for youth as there are many who could use this to better themselves in all listed categories. Thank you!

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