Sport has the potential to develop character as well as reveal it.
A major focus of amateur sport should be on developing character rather than preventing it from being revealed. Adhering to this focus requires us to re-evaluate our perspective on success in sport. I believe too often we allow the attainment of percieved worldly success; wins, championships, postional titles to hide the process used in their achievement. The ends justifying the means seems too easy and contrite. I believe the viewpoint of too many in sport is the end is all that matters as long as we can keep the means hidden.
Please hear me, I am not saying there is anything wrong with pursuing and setting as goals wins, championships and titles. I am saying we need to constantly evaluate and take personal accountabilty of the path we choose to take in pursuing those goals.
It is time to recapture the right perspective on sport, where how you live daily on the journey is more important than reaching the destination. To refocus our perspective. To understand and live out that it is acceptable and may be long-term beneficial to come up short trying to attain the public symbols of success; if we are meeting the standards of character on the journey we are still successful. A purpose of sports is to be a vehicle to teach life lessons, to use sport as a tool and metaphor to develop character and reinforce healthy societal values. Unfortunately, too many of us have to come to view and place the value of sport in obtaining wins, championships, and positional titles and fame.
Redefining the perspective on success in sport is not going to be easy. It is going to take courage. It is going to take a willingness to change; a willingness by people to risk losing some revenue and/or some positional status. But most importantly it is going to take personal accountability. It is going to take all of us involved in sport in any fashion at any level, to be courageous enough to daily do the right things. To be courageous enough to speak up; to stand against the wrong pressures; to walk away from the temptations and trappings; to risk our own positions or career paths to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing is not someone else responsiblity. It is not at a level above us. It is not something we have to wait for permission to do; and it may not be popular to all involved at the time. But it is what we all need to do. Understand none of us willl ever be perfect we will all make mistakes on our journeys, but we need to and can be a part of creating a sports system that helps us work through our errors rather than feeding a system that trys to cover them up.
I agree that charachter and being a champion off the sporting field is as important as being a champion on the field. It’s finding a way to cultivate both, so that athletes can still excel at the highest level and achieve their goals while enjoying the journey, and being the best person they can be. When coaches and team managers/owner can see that this is the only way to win, then perhaps we can get that change and perhaps it can be easy.
Annette thanks for your insights. I agree with you, the greatest change will occur when we can help all see that the approach you listed is the most beneficial approach for them to take. Lasting and impactful change only occurs when people decide it is in their best interest to make it, we can’t mandate our way to it. Which is why I believe one place to begin is to continue modeling the benefit through our actions.
Hi, This Emily from Baller Within Basketball. First of all, I like your writing style. Secondly, I like your perspective. I really believe it is a travesty and irreverent to the game to only see winning as the point/value in sport participation. The nature of sport imposes lessons on conflict resolution, teamwork, leadership, confidence, ect. but research shows that youth athlete don’t make these connections on their own. Coaches, mentors, parents, and peers have to help them make the broader connections. When that happens, sport is special tool not only for personal character development but society.
Thanks Emily, I appreciate your feedback and insights. Also, you are putting out great stuff on http://ballerwithinbasketball.wordpress.com/. Keep up the good work and I like what you put together on LTAD. I believe LTAD is an area that we as coaches need to spend more time studying, learning, and applying the best practices with our athletes.