“Good coaching, like good leadership, is having the ability to cause positive change,” says Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier, Concordia Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball coach and professor of Principles of Coaching and Leadership at Concordia University Irvine.
In coaching, he says, “you’re striving to cause positive change in the lives of athletes while helping them compete successfully.”
In addition to creating winning athletes on the field, good coaching is about creating championship people through character development, says Dr. Schlichtemeier.
“Character comes from the Greek meaning ‘to engrave.’ So parents, teachers and coaches, and clergy seek to engrave positive values onto the hearts of children from the day they’re born,” he says. “Good coaches strive to reinforce the parent’s pursuit of inculcating positive values into the lives of kids so that they will be successful, productive, happy citizens throughout their lives.”
Because coaches have an athlete’s undivided attention, says Dr. Schlichtemeier, they have a huge platform on which to shape or engrave positive values into the hearts of athletes.
“Athletes love to compete and coaches can use this platform to really model positive values for young people,” he says, showing, for example, how to handle adversity. “The way coaches carry themselves through adversity is a great indication of their character. Watching the coach when he’s down by 20 or when a referee makes a bad call reveals what’s engraved on the heart,” Dr. Schlichtemeier says.
The same goes for how they respond to victory, he says. “If coaches react arrogantly, it’s not a good example. If they respond with humility, that’s obviously more praiseworthy.”
When the final buzzer sounds and the athletes leave their game victorious or defeated, says Dr. Schlichtemeier, everyone wins when they can learn and grow as individuals.
“We’re trying to help athletes and coaches assimilate themselves in society and be respected citizens, leaders and contributors,” he says. “If they carry themselves with strong character, they are going be more impactful in society because they are going to be humble, respectful and honest people.”
3 Tips to Develop Good Character
How a coach carries himself is contagious. How he or she talks or walks is a powerful way to help shape positive character in athletes.
Teach positive values:
Use the coaching platform to teach humility, honesty, determination, poise and respect.
Introduce players to high-caliber people:
Watch film clips, read books or listen to quality athletes to present positive examples of people with trusted character.