COMMENTARY 766.5: Coaching a Winning Machine

When Larry volunteered to coach a kids’ football team he wanted to help each youngster develop not only their football skills but their character and work habits. He also wanted mold these youngsters into a winning machine.

Early on, however, he saw that these goals were not always compatible. In the end, his desire to win won, and he convinced himself that youngsters would learn more by winning than losing.

For five consecutive years, his teams went undefeated but one day, he said, “I realized I made some very good football players but they weren’t going to be the kind of people I’d want as neighbors, let alone fellows I’d want to date my own kids.”  And at once, all the victories turned to dry powder.  He saw some of his best players making bad life decisions and he knew he failed them. What he taught them about blocking, tackling, throwing and running made them better players but he could have spent more time teaching them values that would make them better people.

Now, Larry coaches coaches. He tells them that their primary responsibility is to provide youngsters with a safe and fun context for the building of character and positive life skills. He tells them that competition and passion in the pursuit of victory are important to sports and, when kept in perspective, they enhance both enjoyment and personal development. But using himself as an example he warns them not to let the desire to win blur their vision as to what coaching is really about.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Please check out Michael’s other inspiring posts about sports:
Coach Wooden’s Greatest Legacy — Undying Love
Coach Wooden the Philosopher
Michael Josephson Interviews Coach Wooden


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