hopes that they will learn some, if not all of these skills.
There is considerable evidence that the development of character in young athletes can be formed positively, if helped along by sport coaches who implement specific strategies to do so.
- Set the example - Young athletes will look to their coaches to teach them how to respond to a difficult situation - a coach who can effectively control his/her emotions under pressure or in anger is a great example for good sporting behavior. If a coach expects good sporting behaviour, but does not follow the set rules, young athletes receive mixed messages.
- Goal setting - Set team and individual goals, ask them to express how they wish to see themselves grow as players and as a team and help them to accomplish those goals.
- Peer influence - Peers are extremely important in the socialization of young athletes. Establish a peer leader that engages in positive, character-building behaviors and not just those with the greatest skill set.
- Establish guidelines - Make it clear that disrespectful behaviour towards opponents and officials is not tolerated. Let your players know what the expectations are as a team, for example, shaking hands with the opposing team before and after a game, respecting calls from officials, and following the rules of the game.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Boardley I, Kavussanu M. The influence of social variables and moral disengagement on prosocial and antisocial behaviours in field hockey and netball. Journal Of Sports Sciences. June 2009;27(8):843-854.
2. DiCocco F. The Importance of Character. Texas Coach. August 2012;57(1):34-35.
3. Doty J, Lumpkin A. Do Sports Build or Reveal Character - An Exploratory Study at One Service Academy. (Abstract). Research Quarterly For Exercise & Sport. February 2007;78(1):A-91.
4. Falcão W, Bloom G, Gilbert W. Coaches’ Perceptions of a Coach Training Program Designed to Promote Youth Developmental Outcomes. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology. October 2012;24(4):429-444.
5. Gaines S. Developing Individual and Team Character in Sport. Strategies. November 2012;25(8):30-32.
6. Murray K. Team Sports and Character Development. ACSM Fit Society Page. Summer2007 2007;:1-2.
7. Welch B. Character team building. Australian Fourfourtwo. October 2011;(72):96.