One of the traits that has been lost in coaching (or never found) is that of a “coach as educator first.” It’s reason enough why we need more education and development for coaches at all levels. What does a “coach as educator first” mean? Quite simply, it means adding value to your athletes’ lives by educating them about life skills.

“Coach as educator first” can mean teaching them about your sport but it goes well beyond the playing field. I see many coaches at many levels who are great teachers and use their platform to educate a well-rounded athlete. Yet many others do not.

Bob Hurley

Too many coaches are in coaching for themselves. They see wins and losses as the end-all-be-all. They try to live vicariously through their coaching because of their own unfulfilled playing career. The ultimate goal of any coach should be to add value to his athletes. When a coach finds himself educating their athletes first, then that coach has found real emotional intelligence as coach.

The following is a good list of questions to ask yourself to identify whether you are a “coach as educator first”:

1. Do you have a set of core values that are important to your program that you discuss and provide examples of where they have been used effectively?

2. Do you role model high-level character qualities?

3. Do you strive to develop your athletes spiritually, or at least morally?

4. Do you discuss current events with your athletes and how they relate to their lives?

5. Do you find “teachable moments” to improve the “360-degree” athlete?

6. Is winning the most important aspect of your job?
(Note: Even the most successful college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden, said “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”)

If you answered “yes” to questions 1-5 and “no” to question 6 you are in pretty good shape.

In future blog posts, I’ll discuss how coaches at various levels of sport can serve as “educator first” and provide examples of coaches who are. Yes, even professional sports!

Question: Are you aware of a coach who personifies being an “educator first”? If so, please respond with in the comments section below.


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