When parents and coaches establish a youth sports team, they generally start by recruiting players, buying uniforms and getting a place to practice. They often launch into the season with no thought of the “why” or “how” for the team.
Core values are under-used and under-estimated tools, but they are principles behind any purpose. They give coaches and parents a filter for all team decisions and they help keep everyone focused on the big picture of youth sports – positive athlete experience.
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To establish core values for your child’s team, gather a few parents and coaches together to brainstorm. Each person should make a list of things that are important to them. These are probably the reason you signed your kids up to play sports or the traits you want to see them develop through playing. After you have a list of 12 – 15 values, compare them all and find overlapping values. Refine this list, getting it to about five.
Once you have your core values fine-tuned, communicate them every chance you get. Incorporate them into team talks, parent emails and everywhere else they apply. When faced with a decision, the team should filter decisions through those core values.
For an example, these are five team core values that I might suggest:
1. Strive for excellence
2. Recognize potential in everyone
3. Celebrate every victory
4. Develop leaders
5. Don’t take the game or yourself too seriously
Take these, tweak them to suit your team, and explain each one in a sentence or two. Then post them everywhere!
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The Importance of Core Values
Core values define who you are as a team, as players, as coaches and as parents.
They will simplify your decision-making on issues. If you are faced with an option to do something not aligned with your core values, no further discussion is necessary as they guide your decisions. Core values also strengthen relationships. When people are on the same page and guided by the same values there’s a good chance that the season goes smoother.
Developing core values will be a win-win for everyone involved with your child’s team. Young athletes win because they have a better learning and growing experience, the coaches win because they have a clear purpose, and you win as parents because you have clear values to help guide your responses to any challenges that may come up during the season.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.