As the i9 Sports youth flag football and youth sports league in the Middlesex/Worcester County gets ready to have our opening day in less than two weeks, we had our coaches meeting recently. A lot of coaches are returning, and many are new. I had a few thoughts about what I teach my coaches, and why.
Winning isn't everything, but it still happens
I’ve always been of the mindset was winning (and, just as importantly, losing) is something coaches and kids in any youth sports league needs to learn about. I always felt keeping score, tracking wins and losses, etc still had to be done, but shouldn’t be the only focus on the team.
The first year I coached youth baseball, we had the best team in the league, beat every team pretty significantly (without stealing bases, scoring at will, etc) and th next season we were terrible (there were no “carryovers” and it was a completely new team the second year) I’ve coached a basketball team that was 0-10. I’d like to say out of these three teams, all of them had tons of fun.
At i9 Sports, teams win and lose. We make sure that winning happens, but isn’t the most important thing that happens during the games.
Sportsmanship is still important
Every week, one player on each team is awarded our sportsmanship medal. We have the coaches discuss various sportsmanship values like humility, listening. Whoever does it the best that week on each team, wins the medal.
This gives the kids something to strive for, especially if their team isn’t as good, or is losing that week. Every week, kids help each other get up after falling, give
their opponents their flag back, etc. Learning good sportsmanship is very important in any youth sports league, and kids will use these lessons later on in life.
Parents watch games, they don’t raise money
One of the major selling points in i9 Sports is we don’t force parents to volunteer. Yes, we have volunteer coaches who help run our programs, and we appreciate all they do.
However, parents will never be asked to sell a candy bar, run a snack shack, bake cookies, or anything else to raise us money. I’ve coached in a league where the visiting team had to have a parent run the concession stand or the team would forfeit.
When that happens, coaches literally go to a parent and say, “Hi! If you don’t run the concession stand, your team will forfeit, not play today, and ten 12-year-olds
will be very upset at you.”
What is a parent to do? Refuse and have their child be outcasted?
Parents love at i9 Sports we don’t do any fundraisers, and the coaches at our meeting were very impressed.
i9 Sports offers youth sports programs for kids age 3-14 in the Framingham, Marlborough and Shrewsbury area. Visit www.i9sports.com today for details on all of our programs. Mention this article and receive $15 off any fall program! Spots still available in our fall programs!