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Candrea August 2012

posted Jan 4, 2013, 10:39 AM by Venom Ohtwo   [ updated Jan 4, 2013, 10:39 AM ]

Being a Responsible Coach

It is mind boggling to think about the number of people we have given the title of “coach” to over the years in the various levels of sports. Coaching a team can be a life changing experience for any parent who has a child in youth sports, or sports enthusiast and an even greater experience for the many young people they touch through the trials and tribulations of a sport season. There have been many outstanding coaches who have given the time, energy, expertise and leadership that have made a tremendous impact on the development of our youth. What a great opportunity and responsibility we have to influence so many young people during a time in their development as athletes and, more importantly, as people. Some of my most influential mentors who helped shape me into who I am today were coaches throughout my youth. 

We cannot argue that the foundation of our character is built by our own parents, although for many young people, it is their coaches that provide them with the moments and experiences that ultimately make a difference in their development as adults. I can look back today at the coaches that I had in elementary school, Little League, high school, and other various leagues that I participated in up through my college career. I can remember every name, and more importantly, what kind of influence they had on my life. That is a very powerful statement and it proves the point that Responsible Coaching can have a tremendous influence in shaping the character of our youth. I was influenced so well that I chose to coach as a profession. To this day, I continue to thank the coaches in my life for the guidance, discipline, encouragement and knowledge they’ve instilled in me over the years.

When we make the choice of becoming a coach, it is imperative that we understand some simple guidelines that have been proven over the years to provide the proper environment for our youth to develop their athletic skills, but more importantly, the skills they will need to be successful in life. These principles are the foundation of the Responsible Coaching coursework on

Coaching is a privilege and great coaches have to wear many hats. The most successful coaches have the teaching skills of an educator, the training expertise of a physiologist, the administrative leadership of a business executive and the counseling wisdom of a psychologist. But the most important role you play in youth sports is to teach character. Coaching for character is helping your players know the right thing to do and then helping them to do it right!

Guidelines to coaches for teaching character:

1.) Respectful

Of the game and to its rules and traditions 
Of your opponents 
Of the officials 
In victory and defeat 
Responsible Coaches conduct themselves by a code, which Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance call "Honoring the Game." To remember the components of this code, remind yourself and your players that Honoring the Game means respecting the sport's ROOTS. The acronym ROOTS helps remind us that we must respect Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self. Learn more about Honoring the Game and ROOTS.


2.) Responsible

Prepare yourself to do your best 
Be punctual for practices and games 
Be self-disciplined 
Be cooperative with your teammates 
Our society tends to put scoreboard results ahead of everything else. Responsible Coaches care about the scoreboard, but they care even more deeply about instilling a "Mastery Approach" in their athletes. A simple way to remember the three keys to the Mastery Approach is another Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance acronym, ELM, where ELM stands for Effort, Learning and Mistakes.


3.) Caring

Help your teammates play better 
Support teammates – Encourage vs. Discourage! 
Be generous with praises; stingy with criticism 
Play for the team, not yourself 
Responsible Coaches keep players' “Emotional Tanks” full. Responsible Sports and Positive Coaching Alliance refer to a person's “Emotional Tank” like a car's gas tank. When it's full we can go anywhere we want to, when it's empty we can't go at all. Players with full “Emotional Tanks” give Responsible Coaches some distinct advantages like being more coachable, more optimistic and better able to handle adversity. See a youth softball coach in action with her team as the players fill the “Emotional Tanks” of their teammates in the video “Softball Buddy System.”


4.) Honest

Play by the spirit of the rules 
Be loyal to your team 
Make good choices on and off the field 
Admit to your own mistakes 
Jessica Mendoza talks about how she learned to overcome mistakes as a youth softball player and how her softball lessons have carried over into life lessons in the video “Handling a Mistake.”


5.) Be Fair

Treat other players as you wish to be treated 
Be fair to all players, including those who are different 
Give all players an opportunity to grow & succeed 
Play to win within the rules 
In Coach Candrea’s “Player Development” video, he talks about getting kids to understand how to handle failure, and how that moves right into teachable life-long lessons.


6.) Be a Good Citizen

Be a good role model 
Strive for excellence 
Give back to softball 
Encourage teammates to be good citizens 
One way to demonstrate to your players to strive for excellence and how to act as good citizens is by Coaching Beyond the X’s and O’s. Responsible Coaches, beyond the X's and O's, teach athletes life lessons in persistence, teamwork, sacrifice, effort, empathy, discipline, leadership and overcoming adversity. 

Until next month,

Coach Candrea