Do Coaches Have "Favorites"? Yes and Here's Why!

An Open Letter From A Sports Coach

Someone might accuse me of having favorites on our team. You're right. I do have favorites. My favorites are those athletes who most fervently do what I ask of them. To those that do, I give more attention. I talk to them more. I spend more time teaching them. I also expect more of them.

The implication is made that my favorites improve more than others do because they are my favorites, that is somehow unfair. Don't mistake cause for effort.

Fact is that the athletes who come to me ready to learn, ready to listen, ready to act on what they learn, and try it my way even if it is more challenging and difficult than they imagine, are ready to get more out of our program. They are my favorites.

As a coach, I have only one thing to offer an athlete. What I can offer is my attention. This means I attend to their needs. The reward for good behavior should be attention - attending to their needs. The consequence of inattention, lack of effort, unwillingness or not ready to learn, or just plain offensive or disruptive behavior, is my inattention to that athlete.

As a coach, I want athletes that are eager to learn, eager to experiment, to improve, and eager to work hard. I want athletes who come to me for help in developing their mental and physical skills and are willing to accept what I have to offer. Otherwise, why do they come to me? I am going to reward that athlete with my attention. In doing so, I encourage others to become like the athlete above. If I spend my time with the unwilling, and/or disruptive player, I would only be encouraging undesirable behavior.

Over time, this makes it appear that my "favorites" are the better basketball players. This is not so at all. The better basketball players are those who pay attention. Thus, they become my favorites.

What the accusing person does not realize, is that you must have favorites if anyone is to develop in a positive fashion. The coach's job is to reward those who exhibit positive, developmental behaviors. Those are my "favorites", and they should be. -COACH

Whether its the volunteer coach at the YMCA, the Head Varsity Coach at the High School, or World Championship Coach Greg Popovich of the NBA San Antonio Spurs, EVERY coach has favorites on his or her teams. As the old saying goes, “It’s when Coach stops talking to you is when you should be worried!”

Being a coach’s favorite has very little to do with talent, and a whole lot to do with a variety of other things.

Here are 11 things that student-athletes can do that will make them a "coach’s favorite".

1 – They master all of the things that require no talent There is a graphic that has made its way around social media highlighting the ten things that require no talent and they include; being on time, work ethic, effort, body language, energy, attitude, passion, being coachable, doing extra, being prepared,

2 – They’re ready to listen, willing to learn, and then immediately apply your instruction Something as simple as being coachable can go a really long way to being a coach’s favorite. It shows that you trust the staff, and that the staff can trust you to do what is being asked and expected.

3 – They show respect to your entire coaching staff, and everyone involved in the school and your program Favorites are often the guys who coaches send out to talk to the media, or the community, because they know that they’ll represent the program in a great light. Favorites are the kids that understand that perception and place an emphasis on representing the program, and themselves, well in the eyes of others.

4 – They are great role models in the community A lot of times, favorites are the types of guys that exhibit the type of qualities that make them role models in the community. They’re the type of people who exhibit the type of traits that make it okay for your son or daughter to date them, and that’s one of the highest compliment a coach with kids can give a young person. Favorites are the type of kids that you want those group kids playing touch football behind the bleachers to say, “Hey I’m so-and-so”.

5 – They always do what is in the best interest of the program A coaches favorite can’t be selfish. They often put their own wants on needs on the back burner for the sake of the program. Sometimes that means doing something like switching positions outside their comfort zone for the sake of the team, or stepping into more of a leadership role because that’s what the program needs. Coaches value that type of stuff a lot because it allows the highest chance of success for all involved.

6 – They make the right decisions on the field, off the field, and in the classroom Favorites are the guys that coaches don’t have to worry about being a knucklehead and getting in trouble in class, or bullying other students. They provide a great example for others to strive to be like on and off the field.

7 – They don’t miss those “non-mandatory” activities Coaches like to say that not all team activities are mandatory, but on that same note, playing time is also not mandatory either. Favorites often view non-mandatory activities and workouts through the same lens as a coach, and understand the important role that they play.

8 – They’re fully bought into the culture and vision that the head coach and coaching staff have for the program It’s impossible to go out there and truly give it everything you’ve got if you don’t believe in the vision that the head coach and his staff have. Favorites are often the guys that are on board first, and then bring others on board as time wears on.

9 – They never let their emotions get too high, or too low Regardless of the adversity they hit, or the highs and lows during a game, they never let their emotions get too high or too low where they can’t control themselves.

10 – They do the little things when no one is watching Picking up the practice field, or wiping down tables after a team meal to make the clean up easier on the janitor, and getting in some extra work with their back up after practice are all things that have a special way of going a long way with coaches.

11 – Coaches know that they can trust and depend on them regardless of the circumstance Whatever the team, life, or the season throws at them, coaches know that they can depend on their favorites to rise above it.

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