Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Are Coaches training boys to become Men or training them to be disfunctional?

As you think about our society and specifically what is being taught to our young men through their coaches it can be scary. Young boys are being taught that money, fame, and power is what it means to become a man. They learn at a young age their self worth comes from how well they perform on the field or court of play; later come to believe that they should attract the prettiest girl on campus and do what feels good just be careful, and then as they become of age, do what ever it takes to climb the ladder of success to reach a position of status and financial freedom. As described in the book "Season of Life", Jeffrey Marx writes about Joe Ehrmann who teaches that real men should base their manhood on their ability to have and maintain relationships, live under a code of conduct, and find a cause to live for that is bigger than they are. This is great advice, but so different from what our world teaches.

When I started this round table for coaches I asked the question: "what is the definition of a successful coach?" The answers varied but the conclusion was to have athletes who would grow up and could recognize and point back to us as coaches and say: "that coach taught me lessons about life that I can carry throughout life". While this is certainly true, Joe Ehrmann explains it by stating he would not know for 20 years as we are able to look at the young men we coach now as husbands, fathers, and involved citizens in the community.

My challenge to coaches today is simple: Do you spend as much time preparing to teach your athletes the fundamentals of the game as you do in preparing to teach them the principles about life that will make them good husbands, fathers, and citizens?

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