Friday, November 21, 2014

Where Have All the Leaders Gone? (by Coach Ryan)

I hear this one all the time from Coaches, especially at the high school level.  "We just don't have leaders on our team this year."  Hmmm.  How do you measure that?  What marks a leader?  What makes a leader?

For those of us who grew up at least a couple decades ago, the skills that people in the athletic culture might consider those of leaders were often born out of necessity.  We made up our own games to play.  We didn't play on organized teams until we were 7-8 years old, maybe older.  Our parents dropped us off at practice and picked us up when it was over.  I know that's a generalization and there are certainly exceptions, but that's what life was like for many of us.


Now our children are playing on teams at age 3-4.  Their play is far more supervised.  Parents sit and watch practices that they aren't helping coach.  It's not a question of right and wrong...there are definitely positive things about higher levels of parental involvement and supervision.  At the same time, we have a generation of kids who have little to no experience figuring out how to entertain themselves (at least without a screen in front of them).  They have little experience in conflict resolution.  Our healthy desires to be involved with and protect our children can leave them ill-equipped to figure out how to handle difficult or challenging situations.

So it's little wonder that by the time they reach high school, many of their Coaches are wondering what happened to all the leaders.  The young people who arrive in our programs ready to lead are going to be fewer and fewer, so as Coaches, we must be more intentional about helping them develop the qualities we are looking for.  The choice is ours, we can either cry about the lack of leadership in the generation we are coaching, or we can serve them and those who will follow by helping them become what we're looking for.

2 comments:

Rob Stewart said...

Absolutely, we grade school coaches have to help them become leaders, empower them to keep their teammates "accountable" and in line within the sport they are all playing, "each" spot, each person has a specific job, and WE hold one another accountable, i might be to "block" or "block out", or to be at the "mark" for the trap, empowering kids to say, Johnny you have to be here. Too many leaders are in the stands, but honestly they are not leaders at all, they are the world of arm chair quarterbacks that outcoach their NFL and College coaches, but in reality, they are just broken people who struggle with control, struggle with anger, struggle with letting Johnny "fall" and fail, they blame baseball coaches for NOT being fair to Johnny with playing time or NOT making him GREAT, ah heck, lets just move lil Johnny to a NEW TEAM. Did you catch that, new team, new coach, new teammates, unfamilair, quiet and quite honestly "isolated" until he gets to a point of comfort, opens his wings to become a leader, wham, new team, new coach, thanks mom and dad for never keep me stable enviroment, where I could actaully become a leader, team jumping is so awesome isn't it...

Rob Stewart said...

Kids today in general don't have enough responsibility, they don't have a simple weekly chore list, it teaches responsibility. Parents and kids are too busy, too rushed to the "next". They struggle to function as leaders, why? Cuz parents are leading too much, pushing too hard, providing too many options, too many games and in general losing site of the "foundation" in our kids today is WEAK.... How do we fix the crack in the foundation? It starts at home, but unfortunately the parents are blinded and are just chasing the "DREAM" more than Johnny or Sally. They often times want off the "Dreamcoaster" but mommy and daddy have them signed up and booked up through the winter, spring and summer!!
I hear it all the time in "church", hmmm there is a place that builds foundations well. :) Many athletes today are lving someones elses dream, all for affirmation and acceptance of mommy or daddy....