Monday, September 22, 2014

Winners V Athletes

In my sports days, and now in my sons' sports, I've met a lot of coaches.  I've learned that there are two types of coaches in the world.  They may both love the game they are coaching, but they teach two totally different ways.  One creates winners.  The other creates athletes.

At first glance, you want the "winner." But, let me tell you about the winners.  They may learn the skills to play the game, but they won't learn the skills to participate in sports.  They're two different things.  Games have rules... you can't double dribble, you can't move before the center hikes the ball, three strikes and you're out.  The rules are the same for everyone and they're black and white.  You can do this, you can't do that.  Participating in sports is way bigger.  Sports is made up of teams, teammates, coaches, opponents, ethics and outcomes.  A winner may win the game, but they'll never show the sportsmanship, gracefulness, ethical play and lessons learned from losing.  A winner is the kind who teaches to play dirty.  He doesn't break the rules, but he'll devise a strategy to win that bends the rule as far as it can.  He'll justify playing only certain players, even if the league is a 5 and 6 year old learning league, because the chosen ones will win.  He'll ignore the positive aspects of playing sports and focus on only one thing... the win. 

The coach that creates athletes is the coach you want.  He is focused on fostering love of the game, the skills needed to play it and the respect to be a sportsman.  An athlete will show grace in defeat, humility in success, and respect for those involved.  Athletes don't fight the other players, use scapegoats for losses and badmouth.  Athletes play the game, but they're also learning about life.  That's the team that really wins.  The one that takes their lessons from the field into the world and runs with them.  "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."  Michael Jordan, athlete.

My kids may not be winners.  In fact, I hope they aren't.  My kids will be athletes, and with that, they'll kick the winners asses in real life.  Try to block that shot, Coach.

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