By Griffin Monahan, SED 2016
What does an effective coach offer to his or her students and athletes? You might first reply with, “well the skills of the sport!” This is both obvious and true, but coaches can have an even greater impact. Coaches can provide positivity, confidence, and relaxation to students. The list of life skills that can be conveyed from coach to student is surprisingly rather long.
Who can benefit from the benefits of an effective coach? Everyone can! There are groups of students who can benefit the most from a purposeful coach. Students who have the greatest difficulty in school, academically, socially, whatever the issue may be, these students have much to gain. If traditional education is not meeting the needs of a student a caring coach might be able to rise to the occasion. Lou Bergholz of Edgework Consulting writes on the benefits that an encouraging coach or mentor can provide to a student, youth, or mentee. Stating, “play can serve as a natural and powerful promoter of learning and growth that provide manipulation and facilitates mastery, self worth, and the development of basic competencies – including social competencies.” Well directed play and activities can provide students what traditional education may fail to provide.
Albert Petitpas, a professor of psychology at Springfield College, reiterates this point by covering the many opportunities provided by sports participation. He states, “It would be naıve to suggest that by simply participating in sports, young people will acquire the skills necessary to succeed in life. Sport participation does provide, however, numerous opportunities for youth to learn about themselves, to form important relationships with peers and adult mentors, and to experience the benefits of setting goals and working hard to achieve them.” An effective coach and active participation in sports can positively shape a youth in distress.
What’s the point? We as educators and future educators need to provide greater consideration into truly fulfilling the role of a coach. We need to seize any opportunity to mentor after school or coach a sports team when provided. Making a difference in students’ lives can often occur in the regular classroom but let us not forget of the many chances we have after school on the hardwood, at the track, or by the pool.
Griffin Monahan is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in History Education