Moral development in sports and your coach’s role

david at hoop_croppedSports play an enormous roll in society today. Lately, violence is at the fore front of the sports world. Some would argue that the violence or lack of morality in sports is simply a microcosm of society at large. Some would even go so far to say that violence is encouraged for the sake of the gate. That it enhances the game and is merely passionate people waging war for the love of sport and winning.

I would argue that if a coach can teach performance and skill, they can also teach ethics (outward rules recognized by most) and principles of right and wrong conduct (morality, internal ideals to live by). Coaches, teachers and parents have a unique relationship with their student athletes that can promote life long lessons, impacting everyone they work with, specifically addressing whether or not a person will accept moral guidance.

Of course early training must start at home. But, as a responsible parent, be careful to pick coaches that reinforce what you are trying to teach at home. I embrace the “be good or be benched” philosophy. There is too much at stake to train students to support anything less. If you have a coach that doesn’t believe they have a moral importance or influence with your child, run. If they exhibit, for example a dirty mouth, disrespect toward others or are manipulating their position through posturing, run.

There has never been more a time that sports are impacting a society than now. Sports bring competition. It is exciting and challenging. But most of all it can bring hope and inspiration to the athlete and the fan. Do not underestimate the value of living above the moral and ethical status quo.

Play hard. Play to win. Play with passion, but never at the expense of sound morality.

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” John Wooden


One thought on “Moral development in sports and your coach’s role

  1. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here. I can’t help but think that coaches can educate and offer guidance on morality by developing practical reasoning skills for split-second decisions during competition that aid one in moral reasoning off the field.

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