Think back to your time in sports, or perhaps your kids time. There were coaches who were exceptional. Almost always, these coaches were not exceptional because of the skills they taught – like shooting a free throw – but because of the values they taught or stood for. And they were teaching these values in a place where kids were ready to listen – not a classroom, but on the playing field, gym floor, pool or other setting where kids are really hearing – because they love being there.
We assume that all coaches want to teach these values as part of their sport. They care – and that’s why they volunteer. But it’s hard! How do you teach these values – in addition to the skills needed for the sport? Especially when, for the typical volunteer coach, coaching involves running home from work, throwing on shorts/uniform, and then getting out to the field before the kids get there.
But this opportunity – to teach values to kids in a setting where they will really hear – is too important to not take advantage of, or leave to chance. What if there was a kit that coaches could use – something as simple as pulling out an age appropriate card that gives the coach tips on how to encourage the teaching of, say, honesty in a practice? This kit could be part of a process that is inexpensive and realistic enough that is can be used – not put on a shelf somewhere to gather dust.
Ball State University, Indiana Youth Institute, and New Resource Group are working on just such a process. Targeting elementary age children in ALL rec level sports, we are researching, developing, testing and implementing the Values Through Sport Project. Read more on this website!