Coaching Today

What Do Athletes Really Deserve?

By Tim Stevens


  • Treats each player with respect and expects respect.
  • Sees athletics as an extension of the classroom and teaches in that arena.
  • Is more interested in helping kids rather than notching victories under his belt.
  • Builds players' self-esteem.
  • Exhibits high moral standards.
  • Realizes that controlling his or her emotions is one of the most important jobs.
  • Realizes that life isn't fair, you don't get lucky often and that officials are honorable people trying to do a difficult job.
  • Realizes that even an average official is better than having the kids "call their own."
  • Tries to make participating fun.
  • Realizes all parents are irrational when it comes to their child, and that this is good because parents should care a lot.


  • Don't criticize their athlete's teammates or coaches.
  • Realize that the benefits from participating in athletics aren't limited to the starters.
  • Don't expect their child to earn an athletic scholarship because scholarships always should be a surprise.
  • Offer as much encouragement for their child in academics as in athletics.
  • Don't judge their child's worth by athletics.
  • Appreciate their child's accomplishments without comparing them to the achievements of others.
  • Try to attend events.
  • Realize that in the long run, not even a state title compares favorably with the values that are taught in athletics.
  • Don't try to live vicariously through their children.


  • Are principals who provide adequate equipment for students to participate safely.
  • Are not distraught that the sports team creates more excitement than the school's academic achievements.
  • Are principals who see athletics as an extension of the classroom.
  • Judge the worth of coaches not by wins on the field, but by victories with children.

Wouldn’t it be great if people, especially student-athletes, got what they deserved?  

About the Author: Tim Stevens has covered high school athletics for more than 40 years for the Raleigh (North Carolina) News and Observer. He is a member of the National High School Hall of Fame.




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