Coaches have the power to influence and inspire students in really positive ways, as the time children spend on a sports field in school teaches them important life skills such as teamwork, communication, leadership and resilience (learning how to lose). Here are 5 top ways a good sports coach can transform lives.
- Coaches teach students how to confront competition and learn from it in constructive ways that help to build children’s character and skills. Lessons from the pitch can be translated into everyday life as an adult: ‘don’t give up’, ‘let someone else take the lead this time’ and ‘work together to score a goal’. These are all powerful learning strategies that help participants recognize problems as opportunities for achievement.
- A good coach can use sport as a way to teach children about ethics – such as not cheating and fair play - lessons which are better integrated into practical, real-life situations such as playing sports.
- A great sports coach can communicate the importance of staying healthy, both in body and mind. Any great coach will explain to students that achieving amazing things in sports is not just about physical fitness, but also mental resilience and grit. Dedication in pursuing a goal despite the ups and downs of a game is a great lesson at any age!
- Great sports coaches help children realize that what they do outside the field reflects on their performance inside the field – so staying up late, eating unhealthy food or taking up bad habits such as smoking, will all show up in their performance on the pitch. This can be a powerful motivator for some students to improve their lifestyles, but also to resist peer pressure.
- While sport can improve an individual’s physical and mental abilities, a great coach also induces a sense of shared goal within participants which strengthens social ties and networks, sometimes overcoming deep set community divides. In fact, the United Nations (UN) recognizes sports as a powerful tool to promote social inclusion and peace.