A Parent’s Role in Character Development
TK: So the three things from Positive Coaching Alliance research are don’t push kids into sports, have a can do attitude, and most importantly have unconditional support.
TK: I know you worked with some big name coaches again such as Phil Jackson and Larry Brown. Are there some lessons that they taught you either through workshops or through different talks that could maybe apply to different youth coaches?
Jim: You know it is interesting, When Phil Jackson first became our national spokesperson, he gave a talk about his journey, from being a pretty negative coach, he said that he coached in the NBA he had gotten kicked out and he led the league in technical fouls in his first year as a coach, but he was smart enough to realize that it wasn’t working. What really makes Phil Jackson successful, by his own words, is the ability to build a community players who really care about each other and who don’t want to let each other down, which is very different from the infuses most youth coaches have like I got to learn the “Xs” and the “Os”. I would also add one thing that Jack Clark, who is the Rugby coach at Cal State, he is not a household name but in the world of rugby he is a giant - winning about 20 national titles in the last 25 years. When he came to a PCA workshop he walked away from it and said “wow, this is great, I learned some things from it.” His definition of leadership is one that I just love. He says that a leader is not somebody who yells at other people and tells them what to do, but a leader is somebody who makes their teammates better and more effective and every player on his team is a leader and needs to be a leader they need to look up for ways that they can make other players better. That’s just an incredible lesson for all coaches and parents and athletes.
TK: So when you talk about Bill Clark and Phil Jackson and the insights they provide, how does that lead to the creation of the PCA and the program that you have called “the second goal parent program?”
Jim: Well the second goal parent is a spinoff of our idea of a double goal coach. A double goal coach is somebody who has a first goal of preparing his team to win, that’s goal number one and that’s important. But, there is a second goal that is even more important, that is that they use sports to teach life lessons. So we want every youth coach, you know if you are a professional football coach then go out there and just win baby, but even the best coaches are concerned with helping their players to develop character. It’s really is about being a double goal coach. You are trying to win but you really need to use all of those teachable moments that come rolling through every day at practice, because every day at a game there really is a teachable moment if you are looking for it. With that said, we ask parents, “should you be double goal parents?” And they always say Yes, Yes, Yes. However, it’s a trick question because we actually then say no. There are two groups of people whose job it is to win games, one are the coaches the other, the athletes. Parents have a much more important job and that is to focus on that second goal, the character building goal. So if your child strikes out at the end of the game with the bases loaded and your team is one run behind you could have a second goal conversation with them. “I know you are disappointed that you didn’t make the play there but you are the kind of kid who really bounces back from setbacks like this.” You talk to your child about results and how great athletes don’t succeed all the time and what makes them great is that they always come back. That’s what it means to be a second goal parent.
TK: So when you talk about second goal parent program it differs from the double goal coach program in that as a parent you don’t even talk about wins and losses. Is that what you are saying Jim?
Jim: Well everybody wants to win and the question is what do you emphasize? If you child comes home from a game and you haven’t been able to see it you might say “Who Won?” However, what does that communicate to your child? It says that winning is the most important thing. So what we are saying is your kid can take away from youth sports the most fantastic lessons that will help them be successful and happy throughout their whole life. And it is a parent’s job to focus on that. Let the coaches and the kids worry about winning. For example if you see your daughter patting a player on the back when her teammate made a mistake, talk about that after the game. Say “hey I noticed that when Molly made a mistake you went over and patted her in the back; tell me about that,” Encourage her by saying “Wow that’s really great, you know that’s great leadership making your teammates feel better, and cheering them up helps. And you know that after you did that, Molly made a play in the next inning.” You’re filling their emotional tank. So you are not focusing on winning, you are focusing on what kids are taking away from it.
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to Jim Thompson for this interview.
Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp_related_posts() in /nfs/c03/h06/mnt/57119/domains/phoenixcoyotescare.com/html/wp-content/themes/PhoenixCoyotesCare/single.php on line 32