Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

In my morning reading I came across this.  The author is unknown, but I’ve adapted it for my athletes from Petersen’s book “For Men Only,” pg 132.

[The Teammate]

A [Teammate] respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn something from them; a [Pretender] resents those who are superior and rationalizes their achievements.

A [Teammate] explains; a [Pretender] explains away.

A [Teammate] says, “Let’s find a way”; a [Pretender] says, “There is no way.”

A [Teammate] goes through a problem; a [Pretender] tries to go around it.

A [Teammate] says, “There should be a better way to do it”; a [Pretender] says, “That’s the way it’s always been done here.”

A [Teammate] shows he’s sorry by making up for it; a [Pretender] says, “I’m sorry,” but does the same thing next time.

A [Teammate] knows what to fight for and what to compromise on; a [Pretender] compromises on what he shouldn’t, and fights for what isn’t worth fighting about.

A [Teammate] works harder than a [pretender], and has more time; a [Pretender] is always “too busy” to do what is necessary.

A [Teammate] is not afraid of losing and will take measured risk to win; a [Pretender] is secretly afraid of losing and will stay away from any risk.

A [Teammate] makes commitments; a [Pretender] makes promises.

Had a great discussion in my class this week about how we should define leadership.  Here are some of the definitions my students came up with…

“Someone who guides or directs a group.  They must be a motivator and a role model.  They influence people in a positive way.”

“Holding your team accountable and showing them the right way to do things through speech and actions.”

“Leadership is influence on a group of people to do a task for the better good.”

The definition we use in our class is from the book “Launching a Leadership Revolution” by Woodward and Brady; “Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader.”

As John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence- nothing more, nothing less.”  And I fully support this belief.  Positive or negative, leadership is simply the influence of other people.  As we discussed these various definitions the comment was made that John Maxwell’s definition was too broad, and it is, but that’s the point.

Leadership is not for the select few who are given a title or position above other people.  It can be as broad as the father who has influence over his wife and kids, or the one person who influences a group of friends to select a designated driver.  My personal belief is that leadership moments arise in everyone’s life, and what matters is the willingness to recognize and act upon this moments.

Therefore, everyone has the responsibility to develop their leadership skills and potential to be ready for these moments.  Everyone will be called to step up and lead at some point in their lives, so the responsibility is on us to be ready for these events to lead effectively.  That’s why I include a unit on leadership in a Psychological Dynamics of Sport class and in our curriculum with the soccer team.

Our world needs people who care about being ready for these moments they are called to lead in.

Ethics in Coaching

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Coaching Philosophy, Ethics

Recently my ethics as a college soccer coach were called into question by another coach in the profession.  I realize that this job creates an environment of extreme competition, but hopefully we don’t compromise on our values and ethics to gain a competitive advantage.

I think it comes down to having a coaching philosophy that outlines the objectives and motivators ahead of time instead of dealing with issues as they arise.

For me coaching is about the players and what they are getting out of the experience.  I want them to come away from Dakota Wesleyan as better men who have grown through trials and challenges that have helped to shape their character.  What better environment than athletics where athletes deal with victory, defeat, set backs, distractions, unity, selfishness, goal setting, motivation, leadership, etc?  What a great opportunity to work on solidifying the values that will carry us through a lifetime of the same challenges.  But there needs to be a coach who wants to be proactive about helping athletes develop in these areas.  We can’t just put our kids in sports and expect them to come out on the other side with a strong moral base. 

Athletics provides an environment where these things can be taught and brought out in our players, but it won’t just develop on it’s own without an intentional coach.

So much of our program is about character and values, being a person who has integrity.  When these things are called into question it is disappointing that people see me as a coach, or a program as otherwise.  But again, it’s an opportunity for us to work on our character development as well.  I need to rise to the occassion as much as my players need to, and I need to be more worried about doing the right thing and the peace of mind it give me rather than worry about what others are saying.

Having a strong foundation in my faith is also a must to stand the tests of this profession.  Maybe we shouldn’t take these tests as offensive, but as a compliment that we are worthy to be tested and that others want to see us fail?

Today I read about Bruce Pearl’s firing at Tennessee because of recruiting violations and lying to the NCAA.

This might be a little of a soap box for me, and maybe not everyone will agree with me, but the NCAA has created an environment that promotes coaches misconduct rather than rewarding it.

I’ve coached both in the NCAA and the NAIA, and I understand whole heartedly the complaints against the NAIA that other coaches have.  I was there, and I realize that the rules in the NAIA lend themselves to the image that we have as the “pirate league” when it comes to recruiting.  But at the same time, in my humble opinion, the NCAA in essence PAYS coaches to push the limits of the rules and not get caught.

In January I read an article about the bonuses the American football coaches received for playing in BCS bowl games, amazing!  $750,000 for just playing in a BCS bowl game built into the contract.  Coaches being paid $5 million to teach a game at an educational institution (and I do realize that some athletic programs are self-sufficient and take no money from students tuition or fees) doesn’t make any sense to me, except for the fact that this same educational institution is paid millions of dollars by the NCAA to participate in their tournaments, bowl games, and TV feeds.

If the NCAA really wanted to crack down on the recruiting violations and cheating then they could easily create an environment that supports academics as the priority over athletics.  But they won’t because they loose too much money if they do.

Bruce Pearl still received a $900,000+ severance package, for cheating.  Does this make any sense to anyone else?  Coaching in the NAIA might be looked down upon by some people, but I’m pretty sure if I was doing some of the things these NCAA D1 coaches are doing I’d be fired on the spot with zero severance pay. 

Again, my soap box.  I just feel like the NCAA D1 power house schools have put a black mark on college sports.  And it’s not a recent thing, it’s been going on for decades.