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Expanding Athletes' Horizons: College Coaches' Role in Developing Non-Sport Skills

College coaches play a vital role in helping athletes develop skills beyond the confines of the court. While working on physical skills is important, such as improving speed, agility, or coordination, developing skills outside sports can help players become well-rounded individuals. These skills include writing, public speaking, mentoring, job skills, time management, stewardship, and more. Building these skills can help athletes succeed in not only their athletic endeavors but also their personal and professional lives. In this post, I will explore ways coaches can create opportunities for their players to develop skills outside of athletics.

Drawing on my experience as a coach and a person of faith, I am compelled to help young athletes grow both on and off the court. I recognize the unique talents and abilities that every player possesses and work to create opportunities for them to develop non-sport skills that contribute to their holistic development. To this end, I prioritize well-rounded growth that encompasses physical, emotional, and spiritual development, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and interpersonal relationships to achieve success. In addition to drills, I encourage my players to participate in extracurricular workshops that can enhance their communication skills, using these as a valuable tools for sharing their faith and connecting with others.

I prioritize the development of my players beyond their athletic abilities. For me, mentoring is just as important as coaching because it's critical for helping them build up personal skills. It's central to establishing strong relationships with my players and providing them with guidance and support. One way I help my players improve is by connecting them to mentorship opportunities that build up leadership skills, time management, and more. By focusing on these abilities, I'm pushing them to become more well-rounded individuals, which can set them up for success in all aspects of their lives.

To help develop writing skills, I encourage them to keep journals, write guest articles for this site, enter writing contests, and allow me to review their essays before submitting them. And when it comes to public speaking, I provide them with opportunities to speak in front of others and offer guidance on communicating effectively (in camps, timeouts, at practice, etc.). Effective time management and responsible handling of obligations are critical components of success. Therefore, I weave some time management lessons into our sports training and provide resources like time management tools to help them keep things together. Any of my players will tell you how much I love Microsoft Excel!

Lastly, a huge part of success is giving back to others. I have my players participate in community service and emphasize the importance of stewardship. This helps them grow as leaders and feel more connected to their communities. One of my favorite Bible verses that speaks to the extent of leadership and service is from Luke 22:26: "But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant." To me, that perfectly encapsulates the idea that authentic leadership isn't about just commanding others but also serving them and making a difference in their lives.

In today's highly competitive world, I believe athletes must have various skills beyond their respective sports. By creating opportunities for my players to improve their writing, public speaking, mentoring, time management, and stewardship skills, I help them become well-rounded and versatile individuals, which can lead to success in the competitive job market. To conclude, I am committed to helping my athletes achieve holistic growth by purposefully designing programs that create opportunities to develop various skills beyond the sports they love. Coach to coach— I encourage you to do the same.

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