August 24, 2005
Integrity a must when coaching youth
A Pennsylvania Little League baseball coach of 8-year-olds
allegedly paid one of his players $25 to use a bat to
injure another member of their T-Ball team. The 27-year
old coach didn't want the mentally disabled youngster
to play and risk a loss. Is this an issue of integrity
Adults who behave this way have serious issues involving
integrity, possibly criminality and certainly maturity.
At a recent Little League game, we observed a coach who
At the end of the game, when his team lost, he mentioned
that the other team simply played a little better today.
He then reminded everyone that there will be another
game and that he too will work harder to be better prepared.
His supportive approach reminded me of my favorite
Little League coach, Mr. Yonkers, who patiently taught
me and my buddies.
After three losing seasons under coach Yonkers, finally
our team enjoyed a winning season. Even way back then,
a few coaches were jerks. But our coach knew he was there
to help us become better people, as we were learning
to pitch, catch and hit.
Every adult, coach, parent and fan is responsible for
exhibiting appropriate behaviors and leadership with
and for youth - all the time. As the "playoffs" begin,
please review a summary of The National Youth Sports
Coaches Association and its Coaches' Code of Ethics,
which is available online at:
As a coach I will:
- Place the emotional and physical
well being of my players ahead of a personal desire
- Treat each player as an individual,
remembering the large range of emotional and physical
development for the same age group.
- Do my best to provide a safe playing
situation for my players.
- Promise to review and practice
the basic first-aid principles needed to treat injuries
of my players.
- Do my best to organize practices
that are fun and challenging for all my players.
- Lead by example in demonstrating
fair play and sportsmanship to all my players.
- Provide a sports environment for
my team that is free of drugs, tobacco and alcohol,
and I will refrain from their use at all youth sports
- Be knowledgeable in the rules
of each sport that I coach, and I will teach these
rules to my players.
- Use those coaching techniques
appropriate for each of the skills that I teach.
- Remember that I am a youth sports
coach, and that the game is for children and not adults.
Measuring one's actions against a thoughtful code of ethics,
and making appropriate adjustments, will build a stronger
community. All age groups will benefit. Behaving appropriately
confirms that integrity matters."