Editor’s Note: The featured image above is not directly related to this article. It’s just a really cute photo that I wanted to use somewhere. Oh, and here’s another spot-on post from our friend Rob Monaco.
A great coach doesn’t leave his players behind.
I’m a firm believer that a solid team isn’t built on trophies. It’s built on the time and passion a coach puts into his team. Let’s break it down… 12 boys on an 11U team should be offered the best possible opportunity to shine. If the talent isn’t 100% in all of them, a solid coach and a solid foundation can help get them there.
How many times have you heard about a team that plays together all season, the bond is solid, but come tournament time, the coach pulls in new kids for “reinforcements”? Those reinforcements end up playing the whole game, while the boys that put their time in, practiced, worked their tails off in league play, ride the pine. Let’s call that what it is; it’s bad coaching. It’s a coach thinking about trophies. It’s a coach probably thinking about a nice bonus from his employer. It’s a coach that doesn’t care about how hard his team worked in league play… he doesn’t trust his team. Let’s face it; ultimately he doesn’t trust himself for putting the work in with his team either.
And by the way, as a parent, you’re paying for that. So when that coach tells you, “I do what’s best for my team,” remind him that you pay his salary for that season and you sure as hell paid for that tournament too. You know, the tournament your kid didn’t play in?
Don’t get me wrong. As kids get older, the best team should be on the field. But let’s be honest; how “great” is an 11 year old? These are kids. Keep it real. This isn’t the Major Leagues. It’s learning and nurturing time. A good coach needs to take the time to mold, build up confidence, explain solid fundamentals and create an atmosphere of respect and character so when it comes to tournament play, he leads by example, respecting the same guys he has on his team in the first place.
Coach with passion. When you do, players find the same passion in themselves. Be a leader. When you do, a team follows. Build character, build confidence. If you do, there won’t ever be concern about who you put on the field, even in a critical moment. Find strengths in your players. If you do, kids will work in perfecting their role. Most importantly… trust your team. The greatest moments are often the ones from the player you least expect. But you’ll never know that if you don’t give them their shot.