Every coach wants to win the game. Winning builds the confidence of the players as well as your team’s reputation in the league. A losing season is frustrating for everyone involved. Yet, too much emphasis on winning can lead to reckless and dangerous play. A short-term win can have long-term consequences in lost games time and injuries.
Help Players Shape Their Future
The ability to play a sport well can lead to college scholarships and, perhaps, a professional career. Even if your player is on a team that is losing,scouts can recognize an excellent player. If your best players are constantly fouling or are on the bench due to injury, those scouts will not get to see them playing at their best. The desire for a winning season at all costs at a lower level may prevent them from playing at a higher level in the future.
Prevent Serious Injuries
Your players are young and strong. They may feel invincible, able to play through pain and injury. It is your job as the coach to keep them safe. Putting in your star player when he or she is injured can increase the severity of the injury and its healing time. It is especially important to pay attention to head injuries. Allowing a player with a concussion to continue playing can have serious, life-threatening consequences. Winning the game is not worth shortening a life.
Teach the Love of the Game
As a coach, you do not just represent the team, but you represent the sport itself. You want to create players who love the sport, not just winning. The success of every sport depends on many people beyond the coaches and players. Professional teams need managers, physical therapists, and trainers. Many of the best members on a team’s staff are people who learned to play and love the game when they were younger. Professional teams also need fans who will attend games. If they think the game is only about scoring and winning, they may lose interest in the sport after a less than perfect season.
You became a coach because you love your sport and want to see it played well. Your team members want to become the best players that they can be. Whether your team wins or loses, the joy of a sports team is playing the game.