Lesson Two – The Role of the Coach


The word “coach” has its origins in the 1550s, taken from the name of a town called Kocs,
on the main road between Vienna and Budapest. The word originally referred to the
carriage that would carry (usually important) passengers on that road. In the 1840s, the
word “coche” began to refer to those who would tutor students preparing for exams, as they
“carried” the students on to completion of their studies. Over time, this idea of mentorship
was then applied to those who tutored and trained athletes. We became “coaches”.
Originally, a coach was a vehicle designed to take important people to a place they could
not reach on their own. In many ways, that definition has not changed. As a coach, you
are a vehicle with an opportunity and a responsibility to take important people to a place
they cannot reach on their own. So where are you taking them?

Read p. 68-73 from chapter 2 in InSideOut

For discussion/reflection:

1. Joe suggests that “mentor” would have been a more appropriate word to use in athletics
than “coach”. He writes, “Imagine if coaches today thought of themselves as mentors or
aspired to the ideals of mentoring”. Do you feel like most coaches have a healthy grasp
of their opportunity to impact lives? Talk about a coach you know who understands this
well and lives it out.

2. On page 72, Joe discusses how financial implications, along with the ego and self-
involvement of many coaches has resulted in “a shell of a once virtuous athletic culture”.

How have you seen technology and “sports as business” contribute to the decline of the
“once virtuous athletic culture”?

3. The “Hardwired to Connect” study, described on page 73, proposes that the modern
crisis faced by our youth can be alleviated by meaningful relationships and connections.
Joe suggests that a teacher-coach is well-positioned to create the type of structure
that can meet the three primary needs uncovered by the “Hardwired” study. What do
you think about that? Where have you seen examples of struggling young people who
flourished under the guidance of a transformational teacher-coach?