What’s Important?

by Ryan Krzykowski

Session 6 of the newly developed Coaching With Purpose booklet we’ve been using in Coaching Life Groups this fall encourages coaches to complete a list of character qualities they consider to be important.  The dots we’re in the process of connecting are designed to help reinforce the idea that sports can be used as a tool to help people grow and develop in positive ways.  In these conversations with coaches I heard so many great qualities mentioned on their respective lists: perseverance, work-ethic, joy, selflessness, service, encouragement, and many more.

There’s virtually no limit to the good that can be done by coaches in the lives of young people.  We can provide a place for them to belong.  We can serve as a mentor/role model whose example can absolutely change their path’s trajectory, both in the short and long term.  We can help them understand their value and show them they are lovable.  We can help them understand the value and lovability of others.  This list goes on, but would be incomplete without a mention of the opportunity we have to help them experience joy and have fun.

Two weeks ago in this space, I plugged a podcast episode produced by The Coaches Network that features an interview of CFC’s Alec Lemmon.  Today I plug our most recent CFC podcast episode, in which Alec interviews Kevin Wardlaw and Jeff Davis, leaders of two of Kansas City’s most prominent youth soccer clubs.  The conversation touches on a variety of topics, some soccer specific, most not.  But perhaps my greatest takeaway from listening was the emphasis these men placed on helping kids have a fun experience.  Our children are enduring a difficult year, as we all are.  They’re doing it while trying to figure out how to do things like attend middle school on a computer, just as an example.  It isn’t easy.  But they’re doing it.  And then they show up to play on the teams we coach.  Things are still quite unusual these days, and our teams can serve as a haven in the midst of the turmoil.  It can be a place where kids know they’ll have a chance to have some fun.  Not be goofy, waste time or screw around, but to experience the joy of playing.

A couple questions and a suggestion:

1. What are the character traits you value most and are committed to developing in the athletes you serve?

2. How can you most effectively emphasize fun/enjoyment in your program?

3. Take a listen to the podcast mentioned above — it’s about an hour long, but just give it the first 10 minutes.  Those first 10 minutes are packed with encouraging, helpful ideas.  And there’s a good chance if you begin listening you won’t want to stop.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…