Self-control is a vital component of success in any endeavor. In high school athletics it is imperative that coaches, players, and parents exhibit self-control for the beauty of our endeavor to shine through.

Coaches are caricatured by a red-faced adult screaming and bending their athletes to the will of the game plan. This is often the result of what an individual assumes it means to coach, or perhaps what they experienced as a player. The reality is that coaches that use this tactic often lose the respect of their players, families and communities. If a coach uses screaming as a coaching technique on a frequent basis it loses all affect.

Coaches often get upset during games when things are not going their teams way. When plays are not run properly or the team is not executing in a manner that is acceptable. This results from a coach’s ego, and they are seeking to show everyone that it is the players that are not performing, and not the plan put in place. Coaches should work hard to have the attitude that “if we win it is us”, and if things don’t go right they must be willing to shoulder the blame and seek a more effective way to get the team to execute.

Players must exhibit self-control to be effective peer leaders. A true leader must lead by example and always respect coaches, officials, and teammates. It is easy to get caught up in the competition and lose sight of the big picture. There is nothing more frustrating than having a player cost a team a game because they cannot control their emotions. Silly penalties such as talking back to the official or unsportsmanlike conduct are avoidable and often are extremely detrimental to a team’s ability to be successful. Coaches should monitor this behavior during all activities. If a player is a poor sport during practice they will surely react in a similar way when the bright lights are on. Be conscious of this and work with players to develop their attitudes at all times.

We have all seen and heard fans yelling at officials, coaches and opposing teams. Spectators should respect the game and the teams on both sides. Again, it’s easy to lose yourself in the heat of a competition, especially when your child is competing. It is important to know that yelling unbecoming things does not inspire your child or your team, it embarrasses them. Administration and coaches must be diligent in addressing these kinds of situations. If you have a parent that acts in this manner it is best to meet with them privately and discuss what proper etiquette is in being a fan. Allowing this sort of fan behavior falls on the institution and reflects poorly on everyone involved.

The purpose of high school athletics is to build confident and strong young men and women. Athletics is a powerful metaphor for life. If we as coaches are not seeking to have self-control in how we teach, and we are not developing young people that can control their emotions, and parents that understand that their actions reflect on our institutions then we are doing a disservice to all. Let’s keep this in mind as we guide our athletes and represent our student bodies, faculty and traditions in the heat of battle. Good sportsmanship and self-control helps develop championships program and communities we can all be proud of.