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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Rutgers Reality Check- Part 2


{This is Part 2 in the series from Todd Patkin in response to the recent events at Rutgers University. Read Part 1 here.}

Watch a replay of the coach’s motivations. This topic has been alluded to already, but according to Patkin, it bears repeating: What is motivating your child’s coach? Is she in it for winning (and only winning), or does she want to make a difference in young people’s lives? While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to win, make sure that your child’s coach does not use her position primarily to brag about her successful seasons and coaching record.

“To some extent, a coach’s goals should match the level of athletics in which your child is engaged,” Patkin adds. “For instance, if he is doing YMCA coach-pitch baseball, his coach’s main motivation should definitely be centered around...
...having fun and helping kids. But if your son is a high school baseball player and his team has a legitimate chance to go all the way to the state championship, it’s okay for the coach to put more of an emphasis on winning vs. losing…as long as the players’ physical and psychological well-being are still a firm first priority.”

Has the coach done some emotional intelligence warm-ups? Everyone knows that a coach should have a broad knowledge of his or her sport. But were you aware that coaches should also strive to possess a high level of emotional intelligence? If you aren’t familiar with the term, emotional intelligence is a quality that enables you to be empathetic, an effective communicator, to navigate conflict, etc. If you’re emotionally intelligent, you’re better able to manage your own emotions, pick up on what others are feeling, and react constructively to setbacks—all of which are qualities that coaches should strive to have.

“Remember, everyone, but especially the young, can be made or broken by others’ words,” points out Patkin. “Words hurt more than sticks and stones, despite what the children’s rhyme says. As I have said before, a coach—who is also a leader and mentor—has the responsibility to make sure that he or she is setting kids up for present and future success, not filling them with self-doubt and hurting their self-esteem. So, if you’re watching a practice or cheering at a game, try to gauge what the coach’s emotional intelligence quotient might be, based on his behavior. If you come to believe that it isn’t benefiting the players and may even be hurting them, don’t be afraid to act, whether you speak to the coach or even try to find a different team for your child.”

Does the coach score points through caring? It’s true: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And in sports, it’s crucial that coaches care about athletes aspeople, not just as players. Watch to see if your child’s coach gets to know her on an individual basis and incorporates that knowledge into their regular interactions. It’s always a good sign if, for instance, a coach keeps tabs on your daughter’s academic achievements and compliments her for doing well on a test, or asks her, “I know your family was going to go hiking over the weekend. Did you enjoy it?”

“Coaches should always show love, because most people simply don’t get enough of it!” Patkin asserts. “Showing genuine interest and caring is the greatest motivator I know of because people, kids included, will do anything to keep getting those things. And when players know that they mean more to their coaches than the numbers on their jerseys, they’ll naturally have a greater desire to excel.”
 
Written by Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In and Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People.






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