A Coach’s Voice

Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.”

Like most older brothers, I was a bit of a bully to my little brother. I remember once in 7th grade my coach pulled me aside before practice to speak life into me that had nothing to do with sport, and yet I remember it still to this day.  “You know,” he said, “Your brother looks up to you. Maybe you could find a way to be a little nicer to him.”

I had heard that before from my mom and my dad, multiple times, even to the point where I would get grounded or lose privileges. But coming from my coach, it had a different influence over me. I’m not saying what my parents said was not important, or that when they talked I did not listen, but coming from my coach it hit me harder than when I heard it come from my parents. I wanted to impress my coach, as most young athletes do. He used his influence to speak to me, not down to me. It was a suggestion, taken by me to be a way that I could make this man proud of me.

Consider asking the parents of your students about what message you as a coach could help reinforce. Raising great kids is a team effort, and beautiful things can happen when coaches, teachers, and parents work together to help a child grow up.

As parents and coaches, we are in the business of creating adults, so the more we can work together, the better off our future adults will be.


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As a Leadership Coach at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, James Leath teaches athletes from the professional ranks all the way down to elementary school about character and leadership of self, team, coaches and critics. His widely read blog at jamesleath.com is a top resource that educates athletes, coaches, and parents in sport psychology and personal development. James is currently finishing a graduate degree in Performance Psychology.