"The New Coach" - Sweep the Shed (5 of 5) / by James Leath

Your athletes are a reflection of what you teach and what you allow at practice. If you yell at the ref, they will yell at the ref. If you stomp your feet in disgust, they will emulate that behavior when something doesn't go their way. Speak to the ref with respect and with calmness in your voice. Be encouraging and be classy in victory and defeat. Be the coach you would want your child to have or the coach you would want as a child.

This is the final part of a five-part series based on some things I believe will help new youth coaches find success. This week, I discuss creating a great culture.

Part 5: Sweep the Shed.

My favorite book read in 2015 was Legacy, by James Kerr. It is a book about the New Zealand All-Blacks and how they have sustained the highest winning percentage of any professional sports team. Simply, it is a book about creating a great culture in sports. Among the many great ideas, one in particular I like is called “Sweep the Shed.” It entails the habit of leaving every locker room, home or away, better than when they got there. There is no need to leave trash in the dugout/locker room or on your side of the field/court and no reason why your team shouldn’t pick it up, even if it isn’t theirs.

Another version of this is cleaning up after practice. Kids want to help, so give them a 30-second countdown at the end of practice to put away cones, balls, and other equipment. Not only does this help you, but it gives players a sense of ownership and service to the team.

What is your team known for? Aside from the result of the contest, what does the other team think or say about your team? Are you setting the example for your athletes who will one day be adults?

No written word or spoken plea Can teach the kids what they can be. Nor all the books on all the shelves, It's what the teachers are themselves. -John Wooden