07 Oct 2009

Sample Essay: Character Education and Team Sports Achievement


Sensible   leadership  coupled  with  proper  orientation  on  the  part  of  the  coach  could  provide  phenomenal  strength and an equally glorifying character  to  the  athletes. He  ought  to  be   a  great  visionary  in  order  to   accomplish  his  and   his  team  members’  target. An  ideal  coach  is  one  with  an  impeccable  character  and  acclaimed  leadership  and  management  styles. His  constructive  criticism, amicable  interpersonal  relations  with team  members  and  implicit  faith  in  them  would  enable  him  to  mould  the  players  into  his  vision. It  is  the  strategies,  holistic  approach,  enthusiasm,  empathy  and  distinct  vision  of  the  coach  that  would  carry  the  team  towards  a  collective  goal.  The basic   attributes of character  have  rendered  better  eminence  to  the  student- athletes  of   today   who  find   themselves  a  step  ahead  of  those  of   the  80’s.


The   present  area  of   research  has  monopolized  my  attention  because  it  highlights  a  global   issue  of   the  character building  skills  of  coaches  in   the  world  of   sports  .As  it  relates  to  sports  academics  I  find  it  very  interesting  and  challenging  .It  is  the  field  closest  to  my  heart .The  objective  of  my  paper  is  to  amply  highlight  the  leadership  competencies  of  the  present  day  professional  coaches.  Sensitive  leadership  with  the  right  kind  of  orientation  could  create  phenomenal  strength  in  the  players  .  The  present  day  coach  has  to  be  a  great  visionary  and  channelize  his  players  to  work  with  sincerity,   commitment,  dedication  and  conviction. It  is  imperative  that  he  inculcates  and  nurtures   the  character  of  the  players. His positive mindset should   reinforce the   players   and   uphold the team spirit. It  is  their  morality, ethics, skill  and  competence   that   proves  them  as  coaches  with greater   aptitude   and   propensities  and    hence  eminence. THESIS STATEMENT: Character is the foundation on which the destiny and success of a student- athlete is built.


I   have  found  the  paper  to  be  innovative  and  equally  exciting .I have  acquitted  myself  to  this  task  and  worked  to  the  best  of  my  ability  to  make  my  paper  more  objective,  creative  and  responsive. I  have  made  an  effort  to  bring  to  light  the  manifestations  of  the  leadership  styles  of  the  coaches  to  the  present  arena  of  sports as well as the value of character building in student- athletes .


A good athlete is not born everyday. He is as rare as the blue moon. A true athlete will imply very extraordinary style, power displayed and achieved. Leadership qualities are an essential prerequisite for a sports coach. It is this quality which gives him a reputation by which he is recognized. A good coach is one who places his team first and foremost. Since he bears the welfare of his country and team at heart, he also criticizes the wrong policies that prevail. He shows constructive criticism without any self interest or motive. In this age of globalization with severe competition there is need for perfection in every field. A coach of the present day needs to be a perfectionist in rendering his service. It therefore calls for sincerity, devotion and strict discipline towards his team.


An ideal coach should be a gentleman to the core, with an impeccable character and acclaimed leadership styles. He should have the attributes of sacrifice, character, patriotism and industrious nature. He should be a great visionary in making his team a strong contender in the world arena of sports. A proper orientation of the players is required. Each player should rise to the occasion and take it as a challenge to bring glory to his team and country. The most crucial role of a successful coach is to help athletes improve their athletic skills along with their character. He should improvise upon a beginner and enable him to succeed as an elite player.


A professional coach motivates his athletes through following attributes

Communication skills.


Distinct vision.


Besides perseverance, the success of the student- athlete and the team depends upon.

The character of the players in the team.

The character of the coach himself.

The situation.


A professional coach adopts a holistic approach towards his team members. He not only enhances the athletic skills of the players but also inculcates in them an all round psychological as well as character development.

Sensible leadership with proper orientation on the part of the coach could create phenomenal strength in the minds and hearts of the player. He has to be a great visionary in order to accomplish his and his team members’ goal.


A modern day coach aims at improving his players’ performance through character building and strenuous training. He acts as a beacon of light that would impel the players to strive relentlessly in pursuit of their goal. He tactfully structures and coordinates the activities of the players.

BEHAVIOUR AND CHARACTER OF THE COACH : A Source of conviction for the athletes

His positive mindset should reinforce the players.

He  should  have  implicit  faith  in  the  team  players

His autocratic behavior ­- he should have personal  authority  that  should  enable  him  in  proper  decision  making .

His Democratic behavior should act as a source of inspiration and commitment for the athletes.

His Decision making – His decision making, method of practice strategies  and principles of the game should tend to be optimistic .

His social and interpersonal relations with the team members should be amicable enough.

There should be a consistency between the coach and the team members’ perception of leadership behavior. Players with similar perception and mindset tend to positively evaluate their coaches.


Personal values not only constitute the outward behavior and social etiquettes but virtues like honesty, generosity humility truthfulness and compassion on the part of the coach. He should value team work and his team members. His perseverance and consistent effort should teach proper values of sports. Success does not come by chance. The coach has to influence the players to dedicate themselves and preserver in the pursuit of their goal.


Today’s coach are far more superior to their predecessors because they have been international players for their respective countries at their own times back in the 80s. They were coached by their coaches of the 80’s so they have the advantage of getting coached and playing for over two decades for their respective countries. Hence they are indeed trailblazers in their respective fields in sports and are rising to the pinnacle of glory through their coaching even today. Above all this they have the aids to developed technology to learn and teach. The so called laptop coaches watch the game in slow motion to have a better analysis. They analyze the game and the player and pinpoint to the team mates the cause and the effect of every stroke and movement of the game. A travesty of the truth is that a player of today with one year experience can match a player with ten years of experience.

Under the yoke of the modern coaches, the student-athletes are experiencing enormous potential.

The categories into which a student- athlete  or his coach may be grouped are as under:.




An autocratic student or a coach  is one who leads from the front and inspires the whole of the team. He believes in teamwork and makes his enthusiasm contagious and influences others through his own post performances in the field. Perfect examples can be Martin Johnson in Rugby or Roy Keane in football.

However such type of leadership can bring in unwanted criticism when the team’s performance is dismal. Manager of England team, Sven – Goran Eriksson received criticism when the team ended up in a poor performance in the recent world cup

A democratic coach or an athlete is an oriented leader and is more suited to athletics badminton or tennis. A coach of this modern day will know where a problem actually lies. Each one may differ in his perception and may adopt a different way of resolving it.

A laisser fare athlete or a coach makes a poor leader with few decisions and feedbacks to his team members. The team members may either feel confident and trusted or may feel demoralized due to poor motivation.


(a)An excellent example of how a coach of today exhibits his leadership skills is the great  Martin  Johnson  who  led  England  to  a  grand  slam  six  Nations  Through his  excellent  orientation  and  great  vision  he   enabled  the  team  to  lift  the  IRB Rugby  World  Cup.

(b)Phil  Jackson,  one  of  the  most  famous coaches  in  basketball  has  been  able  to enhance  the  skill  of  his players to such an extent that they have reached unexpected   levels.  He   has   taught   his   players   how   to   win  against  all  odds.He   has   effectively   channelized   the   energies  of   his  players.

(c) The  leadership  qualities  of  UCF  –  Women’s  Rowing  Coach   Crain came  to light  in  the  year  2007.  Under  her  aegis  the  women’s  rowing  program  has achieved  new  heights. Her  optimistic  approach  and  perseverance  has  enabled the  knights  to  earn  their  first  National  ranking  that  dates  back  to  the  year 2004-2005. Not only this student – athlete academic successes have been accomplished   even in her classroom.

(d)Golf player Lee has received excellent coaching from Peter Cowan and is in brilliant form even today.

(e)Gary Coser a middle order batsman is now the cricket coach to a new team, Morocco.

(f)Ian Mc Gecchan presently the director of Rugby, London, and Wasps is widely regarded as one of the best coaches the world has ever seen. He himself has an impressible record at international and club levels. According to him it is very important to display powerful leadership qualities to be able to cope with the players or the GP practice Manager.


Today sports are a developed science. All components of the game whether it is fielding, batting, goal keeping or defense are analyzed scientifically. Some sports like soccer, cricket and rugby have become business jackpots. It is because of the money that they get from royalties from T.V rights. These sports have become money spinners. Today the coaches are highly rewarded but they face a lot of challenge from the world around them. Therefore these sports have progressed by leaps and bounds. The quality of sports is much   more superior to what the coaches of the yesteryears had experienced. While the coaches of the 80’s relied basically upon their experience and comprehension, the coaches of the present day are far more efficient   and have a greater reach.

Modern coaching has changed the very style and concept of sports, making it more scientific and enhancing its scope. Hence the present day coaches have brought a phenomenal change in the very concept of sports.

The media coverage of the coaches or the players will make them heroes if they excel. Their reputation will be scandalized with controversies if they fail to live up to the expectations of their country men.


Our perception of what leadership really is has changed through the years. The leadership competency of today’s professional coaches or that of the 80’s has in no way changed. What has changed is how it is now being perceived and applied.


Becoming a sports- athlete with leadership qualities and character is not an event but a process of gradual self development. Four elements relate to the context of good leadership.

Communication skills

Broad perspective

Trust worthiness


It is the virtue hidden in these elements that demarcates a good athlete from a poorly performing athlete.

Today a coach too needs to have proper command or diction over his communication with his team members. The very style and presentation should drive the players towards excellence.

Ethical behavior on the part of the athlete enhances generosity and compassion and it reinforces emotions and motives of the team members. On the contrary unethical behavior   earns enmity and hatred.

A  coach, on the other hand ,  should  readily  avail  himself  as  per  the  requirement  of  his  team members. He  ought  to  be  practical  and  should  be  found  in  the  field whenever  his players  are  playing  or  net  practicing. As  the  coach  is  the  one  to  make  out   and analyze  the  situation he has to be present  even  during  the  practices.

In the 80’s character education was not given much importance, while the coaches were far more superficial in their analysis. They were not in a better position to evaluate more logically and practically before arriving at a firm conclusion. They possessed experiences and wisdom but the modern attributes that would tap the optimum potential of the player by molding his character.

Skill is an inevitable ingredient in a student- athlete while reputation has to be earned. These are all but attributes that are essential for being a successful athlete. It is imperative that the coach inculcates and nurtures the ability of the players through his works ethics. The student- athlete, on the other hand, should possess a sense of cheerfulness, humor or morale to share with the fellow team players.


The following are the expected attributes of a good athlete:

Respect or reputation





Today a coach has to maintain equidistance from the seniors as well as the juniors in the team. This needs a lot of sagacity so that he is not caught in controversies.      Now-a-days the frequency of matches has increased and the players are complaining of fatigue, stress or injury. The coach has to be careful enough to engage the players in such a way as to effectively channelize them and tap their potential.


The task oriented coach succeeds in steering the team in the right direction through his understanding of the task. By sheer knowledge of his experience, he proves victorious. The second category consists of the coaches with sensible inter-personal skills. They succeed in motivating the players and upholding their team spirit high.


Coaching no doubt played a very crucial role in athletics. The performance and development of the team depended on the coach. The methods used by   them to motivate the athletes are now obsolete. Today the process of coaching has brought to light a plethora of leadership and management virtues.


(a) Coaching and management efficacy

Type of motivation

Coach – athlete relationship

Reinforcement within the team

Positive mentoring

(e) Compatibility with team members

The coaches of today view themselves as role models for their team members. They have an optimistic approach with appreciation, loyalty and respect for the team members.

The changing strategies of the coaches of the yesteryears prove them as coaches with less vibrant optimistic view. A poor coach fails to put up good results due to the following reasons:

(a) In adequate feedbacks during the training sessions.

(b) In compatibility with team members.

(c) Lack of positive mentoring.

(d) Perception as mere educators to the athletes.


Leadership skills of an athlete or any other individual were once considered as inbuilt qualities.  It was thought that leaders were born and not made. It was borne in mind that inheritance made a person a leader. That is only  a  person  with  leadership  instincts  in  his  blood  and  breed  could  lead. This notion was  later  on  rejected  and  then it was thought that leaders were ordinary people transformed  into  a  leading  figure  because  of  a  great  event.

To be a good student- athlete, one has to have a responsive and humane environment. Such an environment should be flavored with the attributes of:




Today  a  coach  is  a  manager  himself,  managing himself  and  leading  the  rest. A  good  coach  knows  that  he  should  neither  do  nor  say  anything  that  could  infuriate or  demoralize  the  player but  do  anything  that  would  enhance  the  athletic  skill, character and psychological  well  being  of  the  player.


John  Lyle, SPORTS  COACHING  CONCEPTS -A  FRAMEWORK  FOR  COACHES’  BEHAVIOR ,   2002,Routledge  Coaching(Athletics),Great  Britain, ISBN 0415261570.


Hardcastle, J. (2006, August 26). YOUTH LEADERSHIP IN SPORTS. Retrieved July 17, 2008, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Youth-Leadership-In-Sports&id=282554

www.elitemediagroup.tv/usoc_sportsmanship.htm – 29k

www.thelantern.com/news/2007/01/23/Sports/ Bad Athletes Make Bad Role Models

Dick Freeman & Lyle Lansdell, FOOTBALL COACH’S HANDBOOK, 2004,-.ISBN 1-59205-041-7.


info@Successful Leadership Skills


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