A Coach’s #1 Job in Youth Sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 9/28/2020

There’s no doubt about it. Coaches feel the pressure to win. Whether that is felt from parents, league leaders, school administrators or coaching peers, the unspoken and the spoken implications are that winning is a priority.

As a coach’s wife for 31 years, I will be the first to admit that winning is fun and the reason we engage in any competition. And yes, winning is the goal in youth sports, but it should not be the number one priority of youth sports coaches.

Neither is it the coach’s number #1 priority to please parents, showcase players, or advance their own personal agendas. 
A youth sports coach’s number one job is to develop players and leaders. 

My husband had a hard football season last year and faces the possibility of another one this fall. He hates to lose, and I hate to watch him lose. But once he is over the pain of a lopsided scoreboard, he remembers that the best thing he can do for these kids is to teach them how to work hard, how to be leaders, and how to work together with teammates. 

The chances are pretty good that very few of his players, will go on to play in college and if that’s the case, they need to come out of the experience with a lot more than a winning season. In fact, I will go so far as to say that youth sports are a waste of time if kids are only learning to win and are not being taught how to be better players, people, and leaders.

As a parent of three athletes, I wanted more for them than wins. I wanted them to develop character and leadership. Not every coach they had felt the same way. Some were obsessed with winning at all costs. 

Then there were the coaches who saw the value in the lessons of sports. My son’s college football coaches were like that. He played D3 football and his coaches knew that most of their players would not be going on to the pro level. Their goal was to prepare their players to become leaders in their homes, workplaces and communities. Winning was important, of course, but it was not their main priority.

Today, my son is a good worker, husband, and leader partly due to their influence. I’m so thankful for their impact on his life. 
Winning is fun, yes, but it will not leave as big an impact on young lives as coaches who prioritize developing leaders and people of character.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.