The Name Of The Game: Respect

September 28, 2016 - 2 minute read

Coach showing his team a play

“Coaches are the beacon, the guiding light,” says Jim Perry, District Athletic Director of Huntington Beach High School District. “Kids will have an experience with their coaches that they will have with no other teacher in their educational experience,” says Perry, professor at Concordia University Irvine.

It’s because of that position of influence, he says, that coaches must take care to use their platform to offer the best of their knowledge, experience and insight to lead the next generation. “It becomes a big responsibility on our coaches to understand that and to be very aware of the lifelong impact that they’re going to have on their student-athletes,” he says.

Coaches must realize that with social media and other forms of immediate technology, like cell phones, they are under a wider and much more intense microscope to not only do, but to say the right thing, says Perry.

“I think coaches are becoming much more astute to the fact that they’re going to be highly scrutinized and they are going to have a visibility that coaches in the past never had,” Perry says, drawing on his experience as past President of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), formerly the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the largest organization of physical educators in the U.S.

“The lessons that we teach transcend high school sports; it becomes a part of what we become as citizens,” he says. “There’s an old adage among coaches, Perry says, about a newspaper reporter who asks a distinguished coach: “How good will your team be this year?” The coach’s response: “Come back and ask me in 20 years because then I’ll know what kind of adults they will have grown up to become.” That tale, Perry says, encapsulates the ability coaches have to use their words to not only win games, but to create winning people. “The second coaching stops being an absolute passion in your life, it’s time to do something else. You can’t be a quality teacher-coach and leader of young people unless it is an absolute passion.”

3 Tips For Sharing Wisdom

Respect your opponent:

Without an opponent, you don’t know if you’re being an effective teacher because you have nothing to measure it against.

Respect officials:

Officials are working as hard as athletes and coaches to do the right thing. Sometimes that’s easy to forget.

Respect the game:

Teach respect for the game and what it’s about (sportsmanship); honor its history and former players.

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