A Coach's Voice / by James Leath

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.