Sports: they are something that a considerable amount of youth and teens participate in. Even adults can fondly reminisce about their old playing days.
Youth sports play a huge role in society. According to the Inside Out Initiative, three out of four American households with school-aged children have at least one child participating in sports. Youth sports teach important skills, such as patience and responsibility, as well as supplying today’s youth with a much-needed source of exercise.
But what about the coaches who are responsible for structuring this growth?
As a youth recreational coach myself, I can confidently say this is no easy job. The laundry list of responsibilities seems endless. To many, the job seems easy: hold practices, show up to games. But it’s not that simple.
Practices are often twice a week and take up a considerable amount of time. Before practices, coaches need to construct plans that combine conditioning and developing skills, all while making it fun in a way that keeps the kids engaged. If your players aren’t engaged, having fun, and getting better, they can easily become exasperated.
Coaches also need to come up with dozens of complicated drills to spread across their many practices for the season. Not to mention coming up with plays and strategies to give each teammate an equal role. During the game, they need to make snap judgments for calling plays and using timeouts.
Most importantly, during games, coaches need to find a way to get the most out of their players. Is the team falling behind? Find a way to motivate them and get back in the game. Is the team building a lead? Find a way to not let your team get overconfident so they can stretch out the lead. Game and player management is perhaps a coach’s most important job.
Make no mistake: being a coach is a fun and rewarding job to have. However, it comes with a lot of responsibility and work.
With all of these responsibilities, it may surprise people what some youth coaches are paid: nothing at all.
Now, the argument could be put forward that many adult coaches have a stake in the team: their son or daughter may be a player. Why should they need to be paid? It’s simple. These coaches are taking time out of their busy schedules to coach this team, which as we now know, is a hefty job. Why shouldn’t they get a little extra dough for doing so?
Not only is coaching a great leadership opportunity for teens, but it is great for the players as well. Teens are able to connect with younger kids in a way adults sometimes cannot. Additionally, a responsible teen as a coach gives players a good role model and someone to look up to. It is undeniable: teen coaches are great for the players. Pay would also encourage more coaches – teens or otherwise – to become involved.
With all of the responsibilities that come with the title of coach, even a little bit of pay for coaches could do wonders for youth sports.