Teach Them Young, Teach Them Right


By Shaleek Blackburn

Long before kick offs, tip offs or competitive contests come into play, athletes are introduced to sports by their parents, says Gil Ramirez, a former varsity high school basketball official, current athletic director at Tesoro High School in Las Flores and a professor for the Master’s of Coaching and Athletic Administration program at Concordia University Irvine. “Fundamentals for athletic success starts from the first coach/teacher that all of us have, our parents,” says Ramirez, who also serves as president of the Orange County Athletic Directors Association. “Supportive parents, friends and relatives make a huge difference in the nurturing and development of young student-athletes.”

Positioned at the top of the list of valuable information parents should convey, says Ramirez, is that academic success trumps athletic pursuits. “Parents holding their children accountable with regards to their education is certainly where success begins,” says Ramirez. “As parents, we can’t continue to coach/teach our kids by bailing them out when they goof up. Rather, let’s coach our kids to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes on and off the field,” adds Ramirez. These teachings, advises Ramirez, will prepare them for life and reinforce the importance of personal accountability for doing what is ultimately right in life.

Once student-athletes get on the field, coaches and athletic leaders have the privilege of shaping athletes’ lives for success. “Coaches are another layer of accountability. It is important that coaches be aware of the significant impact they have on the lives of their student-athletes,” says Ramirez. “Academic and athletic success is dependent upon a coach’s ability to focus on explanation, demonstration, correction and repetition.” Discipline, he says, is also required for the athlete to stay on task and achieve their team goals.

After parents lay a strong foundation, teaching their children how to tackle life’s challenges and disappointments, they can then share the mantle of guidance with capable and caring coaches for further instruction. “As a coach, one teaches skills, but there is so much more to sports,” says Ramirez. “Outstanding coaches teach, demonstrate and reinforce life skills such as integrity, sportsmanship, teamwork, perseverance and self-control.”

3 Tips To Teach Them Young, Teach Them Right

Teach love

Teach student-athletes early on that loving sports is what counts the most.

Teach Respect

When children value sports and all that comes with playing them, including instruction, their responsibilities, their teammates’ abilities and opponents, everyone wins.

Teach proper perspective

Win, lose or draw, remember, it’s just a game. The journey is short for most athletes, but the memories of playing will last a lifetime.

Tags: sports, coaching, development

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