Youth and Sports: Have you seen caring coaches?

Sports and youth angry coach or parent This is part of a week-long series on youth and sports: Part 1 
hat’s a caring coach?

    A caring coach is an adult who cares about the kids and who likes the kids for who they are. It’s not about winning, or the coach’s self-esteem, or the trophy on the shelf. It’s about the kids and their development.

    Do you know this kind of coach?

    A caring coach creates a positive climate in which sports produce the outcomes they were intended to produce: kids help one another, express empathy, care about one another, display positive emotions, and restrain their anti-social behavior (like trash talking or cheating).

    Here’s an amazing, inspiring story of players carrying for one another – in this case, a player on the opposing team. The scene is a NCAA softball game. Western Oregon University Sara Tucholsky was at bat and hit her first-ever homerun. She missed first base and upon returning to it, injured her knee so badly that she couldn’t continue her round tripper. If her players helped, she would be called out. If a substitute runner stepped in, the homerun would be reduced to a single.

    But another option was in the making. Members of the opposing team from Central Washington University decided to carry her around the bases, making sure she touched each one. The result was the elimination of Central Washington from the playoffs. (Watch the video here.)

    Do you know of other stories like this one – even if not as dramatic? Would a caring coach make it in youth sports where you live? Join the conversation and share your experiences!


    (The results on caring climates in youth sports come from a 2009 article in Developmental Psychology by Gano-Overway et al.)


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