Keeping your cool during a game is easier said than done, especially in the heat of the moment.
Remember, you are not a Little League® coach or manager just for fun, or just to pursue wins and develop players’ skills. You are there to cultivate in impressionable and vulnerable youth the core Little League traits of Character, Courage, and Loyalty.
Anyone who has coached children can attest that it takes a special kind of balance between patience and perseverance to keep your composure as others around you are losing theirs. It’s easy to exhibit character when everything is going your way, but the need for you to display character is truly called upon in times of trouble.
Doing so is not just a matter of whether or not you get tossed from a game, or even a matter of avoiding the verbal and physical conflict that too often plagues youth sports. It is more a matter of what example you want to set for your players and their parents. Yes, you must set an example for the parents, so they do not come unhinged at games and ruin their child’s experience, and so they do maintain their own credibility as character educators for their children.
Remember, you are not a Little League® coach or manager just for fun, or just to pursue wins and develop players’ skills. You are there to cultivate in impressionable and vulnerable youth the core Little League traits of Character, Courage and Loyalty.
When you consider those stakes, and can internalize them as drivers of your decision-making, you are much more likely to keep a level head, remember that the game is just a game, and to adhere to your higher values.
Internalizing takes time, plenty of experience, and a few failures (or more than a few). If your reason for joining Little league was "for the kids," then it is easy for you accept that it is most important to put your players’ development as people first – before any concerns over objectionable calls from umpires or questionable sportsmanship from an opponent. You will need to be patient with yourself and persistent in striving for the ideal.
Meanwhile, a self-control routine helps. If you feel yourself being triggered, take a deep breath, turn away from the action, count to 10 … or do whatever it takes for you to let the immediate moment of stress pass.
Those few seconds may feel like an eternity, but they actually provide almost instant gratification when you realize what you've just overcome, and what trouble, negativity, or embarrassment you just avoided for yourself, your family, your players and their families.
The real reward comes in recognizing the positive impact of becoming and remaining a force for good in all those young lives and the lives of the children they go on to parent and coach.
Additional free resources from PCA are available at http://devzone.positivecoach.org. For more insight on coaching, subscribe to PCA’s Talking Points, a weekly e-mail series with ideas and tools for coaches to use with their players. Little League-specific resources are at http://www.littleleague.org/pca.htm.
Story submitted by David Jacobson, Positive Coaching Alliance