ON BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL

BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL

NOT ALL CHILDREN WILL BECOME ELITE ATHLETES BUT ONE THING IS CERTAIN, ALL CHILDREN WILL BECOME ADULTS AND HEREIN LIES OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AND RESPONSIBILITY.

“ Youth Sport Coaching is a complex and multidimensional where the coach can be expected to assume many different roles. Instructor , teacher , trainer , motivator , disciplinarian , substitute parent , social worker , friend , scientist , student , manager , administrator and publicity fundraiser.”  ( Gummerson 1992 ,Smoll and Smith 1996 )

Increased social and economic pressures on families, weakening and disappearance of community institutions mean that more is expected of today’s schools and sports clubs.

Within our educational, extra-curricular and sporting institutions, youth get the opportunity to learn what is expected of them and what to expect of others. The impression left by adults is an essential ingredient in influencing the characters that will determine our society in the future. Our educational, extra-curricular and sporting institutions all help to build, develop and eventually depend on social capital.

Coaching is about the difference we make to young people’s lives – Nick Levett

If the coach focuses only on football outcomes he may unknowingly be contributing to the high drop-out rate in the game that happens during the early teenage years. We are a feeling species. The average human experiences a feeling every 10-20 milliseconds and 500 milliseconds later is conscious of that feeling/emotion. A coach has a responsibility for the player’s mental fitness. In large group situations this is hard to measure as each child is different, social beings with their own history and background. Children accept their experience, how they are coached and managed as the norm. Not placing enough focus on the interactions and relationships that help encourage and develop the learning process is a mistake. The coach who is committed to developing social interaction can use the game to develop better people. A by-product of this will be even better players.

People in general will only learn to do well what they practice doing (or allowed to practice). This is true not only for sport but in general social interaction.

There is a big difference between the quality and quantity of Youth engagement. Unfortunately the adult world seems to be more in touch with the quantity side and this in turn can lead to a misunderstanding of the true values that we are passing on to our Youth. Do the sports clubs try and develop and build social capital through a team work ethic or does it demand a win at all cost approach? Is our engagement with Youth through media, social contact and networking fueling responsibility, community spirit or just a desire to satisfy materialism?

Young people want the same as everyone else, opportunity, respect, affiliation, solidarity, FUN. How these needs are provided is essential. If there is a void to be filled, who or what fills it is of huge importance. Do we want our schools, our youth clubs, our sports clubs to provide these needs or do we want a negative culture (ie gang culture / hooliganism ) to provide them?

In an age of the virtual social network, the Sports club is one of the last extra-curricular institutions where our youth experience genuine regular face to face contact and interaction with each other. Valuable civic and social skills, teamwork,organisation , learning to give , share and how to accept are amoung the life skills that can be developed……OPPURTUNITIES TO LEARN.

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