Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay
A sports coach isn’t just someone who stands there and blows a whistle, makes up drills for basketball and then yells at you in the locker room. There is so much more to a sports coach, and they play a very, very valuable role in a person’s life. Sports coaches are there to help athletes in developing to their full potential, they are also responsible for training athletes in a sport by analyzing their performances, instructing in relevant skills and providing encouragement, but they are also responsible for the guidance of the athlete in life and their chosen sport.
They Promote Active Lifestyles
As mentioned, the role of sports coaches isn’t just to coach, and while they are well placed to help athletes reach their potentials, they also play a vital part in getting children and teenagers to engage in sport and physical activity. We all know how good physical activity is your health, and it’s imperative to tack the obesity crisis we are now facing, but the sport has also been associated with positive experiences and outcomes, such as improved confidence and academic achievement.
Sports coaches are in a great position to promote these active lifestyles by getting kids involved at an early age. By focusing on inclusion and engagement in the physical activity, they can help encourage children who don’t engage with sport naturally to find it something enjoyable and worthwhile. This promotion doesn’t happen overnight, so a coach needs to be able to provide guidance and have an understanding of the power of sport so that they are able to not only unlock an athlete’s potential but a child’s or adults who don’t necessarily enjoy the sport or are just a beginner. It’s not just about championing the champions and helping the best reach their potential; it’s about coaching others to be the best they can be.
They Are Both An Assessor and an Advisor
A coach needs to be able to assess an athlete’s performance and give advice on which areas need to be improved. This advice might also cover training recovery, working with injuries, nutrition, and developing a positive mental attitude. It may and often does mean advising on life too. Competing in sport is just as much about mental as it is about physical health and having your head in the right place to do it. Because of that, if a sportsperson is distracted by something, stressed or depressed, just like with anything else, they won’t be able to perform as well, even if their body is in peak condition. A coach needs to be able to recognize that as much as he or she can recognize someone limping when they walk.
They Are A Role Model
Coaches are not just coaches, but the best and most successful ones know that their athletes look up to them, so it is important that they ‘practice what they preach.’ It is important that they have integrity and behave in a way that is respectful to their sport and those around them. A sports coach usually garners more respect than your average teacher; there is a relationship between a coach and his or her team that is like no other and a bond which has to be there for the team and each individual to perform at their best.
They Are A Mentor
Sports coaches will often find themselves working as guides in life as well. The role of a mentor is to guide a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behavior. While coaches need to look after their athletes’ health, both physical and mental, and their safety, they will also need to get ‘tough’ with their mentee from time to time. Again this could mean getting personal, finding out what is going on with them and helping them off the field. Or it could mean that at times they need a talking to which no one else will be able to give them, let alone will they respect. A coach is in a unique position to be able to tell someone to sort themselves out and give them that kick that they sometimes need.
They Are A Cheerleader
One of the greatest things about a sports coach is celebrating successes together. Whether it be winning a medal, a final, or simply celebrating a new personal best, it’s important for a coach to celebrate alongside their athletes and their team. They have to be the biggest cheerleader going, always supporting and cheering the sportsperson on to help them achieve their goals and be a champion.
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