OPINION: The guidelines on how to be a respectable and successful sport coach


Chloe Zarrinkelk

Coaches have a major influence over athletes’ outlook on their sport, resulting in either a lifetime dedication or an abysmal experience.

Claire Hadley, Writer

Coaches can create the worst or best experience in a student athlete’s life. Their attitude and treatment towards youth can either degrade their desire to continue a sport or make athletes never want to quit. 

The way a coach speaks toward players has a major effect on the amount of enjoyment that athletes get during practice and games. Their behavior should be aimed to encourage, not belittle. 

A coach should be giving constructive criticism that can help athletes to continue improving. If they actually put in the time to give helpful advice, it fuels athletes with a desire to go to practices and learn how to become better. 

 A harsh coach has the opposite effect on players. Whether it’s constantly yelling at the mistakes that an athlete makes or insulting an athlete’s character, verbally abusive treatment towards young individuals can damage self-esteem and lead to someone quitting an activity that they once found enjoyable. When an instructor cruelly stabs at the mistakes of their understudy, it creates a timid atmosphere where athletes are afraid to go out of their comfort zone and make errors for fear of tongue-lashing. 

If coaches question the integrity of athletes without giving them the benefit of the doubt, they shouldn’t bother to expect the respect of the people whom they are training. People who make youth cry or quit should take a look in the mirror and rethink their methods of instruction. They should think about what their own reaction to unnecessary yelling and treatment at a young age would be. They should question, is it really worth it to sacrifice being a good person for a sport? What kind of person would believe that aggressively ridiculing an athlete would make them want to continue a sport? 

A successful coach also ensures that their understudies don’t develop a major ego. Although it’s good to have a positive attitude while addressing players, it’s better to give methods for improval rather than to let athletes repeat the same mistakes without correction. With no critiques, kids can develop a large ego or resentment toward future coaches who try to help improve their gameplay. 

An effective coach is also always there to support their athletes. When someone individually trains, they improve. But with the help of an advisor who holds experience in the sport, provisions can be made with more ease. Frank Stilwell ‘22 remarked, “Actually figuring out what to do is really hard, so it’s nice to have someone to guide you.”

Along with being helpful, good coaches are always fair. They ensure fair playing time and team-level placement are based on commitment and skill. There is no compromise of integrity based on favorites or favors owed. 

Coaches need to have some variety; the same drills and exercises over and over are drop-dead boring. Although some drills are important for certain skills, there also needs to be a little differentiation in each training session. Especially at young ages, kids want variety and excitement instead of repeating the same things over and over again. Constant boredom can cause children to quit an athletic activity, so why continue if you get no fun out of it?

Athletic activity is essential for youth, and sports can help develop a healthy exercise lifestyle that can last a lifetime. Statistically shown, only a low percentage of children stay in sports until their teenage years. Around 70% of youth athletes quit a sport by the age of 13. Coaches could positively impact this number if they strived to create a constructive and respectful environment.

“A good coach makes a large difference [for] athletes,’’ Shayna Dearman-So ‘24 stated. She continued, “When I have a good coach, I am excited to go to practice and go to games. I want to be there, and I definitely perform better.” It’s important that instructors are respectful towards the people they are coaching and create enticing drills that draw youth into continuing a sport.

What do you think?