“Other than my parents, Coach Smith was the biggest influence in my life..he was my mentor..my second father,” were the words Michael Jordan chose to use in remembering his college coach, Dean Smith, while at UNC.
We all have a mentor that has in someway contributed to our success not only professionally, but personally. Yet, sometimes I believe we forget the resounding impact our coaches have in our lives not only during our days as athletes, but as we continue on our path of life.
The sad part is that many kids grow up not having the same positive influence in their lives as Michael Jordan was fortunate enough to have. The art of coaching has been dwindled down to the mere idea of winning, while it is obvious that those who have the most successful careers as coaches, focus on much, much more than that. This idea has sadly been lost not only in most high school and collegiate programs, but in younger recreational settings as well.
Coaching, at any level, never stops at winning. It is about to continual investment in the players one is working with to help their kids grow physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is about instilling life-lasting habits that will have the maximum positive impact on their kids regardless of what path they choose to venture on in life.
What I am arguing here, is not that winning isn’t important. Desensitizing our kids to losing is a disservice that has potentially irreversible consequences, but let’s not sacrifice the long term growth of our children for the short term goal of winning. Little Johnny and Jenny probably won’t remember that gut-wrenching loss in soccer at age 9 (it’s laughable just picturing it), but you would be foolish to think that their interactions with their coach won’t have long lasting effects throughout their life.