As a sports communication major, I was asked to create a coaching philosophy as if I were a coach myself. Here it is.
As a high school varsity ice hockey coach, it is my responsibility to enable athletes to reach their maximum potential. It is my role to guide them and help them achieve the goals they have set for themselves. I will offer them the opportunity to play for my team and to play at the next level. My focus will be on the process of striving to win rather than viewing winning as an ultimatum. Being successful is a process and my athletes will learn that they will experience many failures as well as successes in high school athletics and in their daily lives. With this being said, I will recognize all successes, no matter how small. If my team scored the first goal but does not win the game, that was still a success. If one of my athletes made a great play but we lost, there was still a success in that game. I also want to account for all members of my team, even athletes who do not receive a lot of playing time and build relationships with these athletes outside of sport. I will do this by giving messages that reinforce their self-worth and abilities. I want them to know that they have a place on this team and that they wouldn’t be here if I didn’t see they had something to offer to my team. I will reassure them that they are good athletes that have potential regardless of if they are in the starting lineup all four years of high school or if they are the top scorer or not. No matter what the statistics say and what playing time is given to my athletes, I will make sure to reiterate when they are playing well and when they make great plays that go unnoticed on a stat sheet. When plays are not working, I will reassure my athletes that it is not that they are incapable of running the play, but instead show them alternative ways they can make it work.
I will make a conscious effort to understand the present emotions of each of my players and provide emotional support at all times, whether or not I can tell if it is clearly needed. As a high school coach, it is my job to serve as a mentor, parent, or friend to my athletes and I want them to be able to come to me when they need someone to talk to about anything, whether it is related to sport or not. I will provide emotional support by expressing my concern for my athletes and be a confidant during difficult times. I will genuinely care about the physical, social, and psychological welfare of each of my athletes and will not only praise my athletes, but assist them in their performance by emphasizing hard work, dedication, and pushing themselves.
With this, I will strive to teach my athletes the importance of competition and self-motivation. They need to understand this mindset to be successful in the future when I am not there to guide them. Most aspects of their lives are going to be competitive; applying to jobs, applying to college, applying for loans, and they need to be able to motivate themselves to get the things they want in life. Nothing is handed to them, on or off the ice, and I want my athletes to be prepared to work hard. I will be able to do this through challenge confirmation. I want to help my athletes recognize their potential and how they can achieve any of the goals they have if they try a little bit harder, work a little bit harder, and have the mindset that they are a little bit better than the person next to them. I want to hold them accountable for their actions in games because they are not only affecting themselves, but the team as well when they make poor mistakes. If I did not motivate my athletes to improve, it would show that I do not care about them since I am not helping them understand the importance of competition in sport and in life.
The final piece to my coaching philosophy is to reiterate that if the sport is no longer fun, then please do not come. If the athletes are not having fun, they will not want to come to practice or games and will bring the rest of the team down with their lack of effort and commitment. I will evaluate my effectiveness as a coach in terms of retention rate and success of my athletes. I want my athletes to be excited to be a part of my team and if they quit the sport during or after the season I would take that personally as a failure on my part to create a positive environment for my athletes. I would also evaluate my effectiveness based on individual athletic and personal improvement. I want to see an athletic improvement from each of my athletes because I will be dedicating time to individually cater to their needs. I also want to see them transform over a season or four into people I know will be successful after high school sports are over. If I feel that my athletes have improved and are still enjoying the sport, then I have done my job as a mentor and coach.