Updated: Dec 29, 2022
By Joe Sperle
An excellent coach is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget!
Coaches can make or break an athlete. An excellent coach puts the athlete first and has proven results in developing athletes to reach their potential. He or she is also a good communicator and leader. Looking for a good youth coach is an important decision for the athlete and parents. A poor youth coach wants to "win-at-all-costs" for their own accolades. A red flag is when you hear a coach say “My team won."
Many coaches have unfulfilled sports playing achievements and live through the athletes to fulfill this void in their life and win for their own benefit. This behavior can be toxic and can cause bad team morale and chemistry.
When a parent or athlete hears these comments, they should leave the
team and find another team. In my experiences of playing and observing many sports games, I have seen some good coaches and some poor coaches that really had a traumatic effect on the athlete with their coaching decisions, non-developing skills, and negative comments during the games. Some reasons athletes quit playing sports is because of poor coaching and not having fun anymore . A good coach will give encouragement and commend an athlete during a game instead of yelling or devaluing their performance and embarrassing the athlete. An excellent coach has the ability to see an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses and develop the athlete to reach their potential.
Head college coaches with past winning percentages seasons can be a good sign of their ability to develop and lead athletes. A high percentage of athletes who graduate from the college with GPA’s over 3.0 is another good sign of an excellent head coach who stresses education and not just playing the sport and winning. Sometimes coaches who have won many conference, regional, and national championships are not good for an incoming freshman. The competition of athletes wanting to attend the college with winning programs is higher and the head coach and recruiting coordinators have been contacted by many athletes who express interest in attending
the winning college and play for the head coach.
When athletes are looking for a college to attend and play a sport on a scholarship, make sure you do your homework and due-diligence on the head coach. Talk with past and current players and parents and find out if the head coach has integrity, high morals, and prior results in developing and leading athletes. Head coaches and recruiting coordinators can be good salesmen and mislead you to attend the college and play the sport.
When you visit a college campus to meet with the head coach and recruiting coordinator, make a list of questions you have for the coaches. If you are really interested in attending the college and the school has an education curriculum you want to study, check to see if they have a camp you can attend. This will give you a good look at the campus, sport facilities, and interact with the coaches and upper classmen players who usually help with instruction during the camp.
Remember this is your life for the next four or five years and you want to make an educated decision about the college and head coach. Parents this is your son or daughter and you want to help them make a wise and educated decision to attend a college and play a sport. When an athlete is 17 or 18 years old, it is hard for them to understand the recruiting process and the importance of doing their research about the college and head coach. The parents helping the athlete with the college recruiting process is a key to the athlete making a good educated decision. A mentor who has been down the path of the athlete and is knowledgeable on the NCAA recruiting regulations and knows and observed the college coaches in games, is also a good source to talk with about the coaches and the recruiting process.
I have seen many athletes quit playing when they were in high school because of a poor coach that does not have the ability to communicate and develop the athlete. Just because an athlete was a professional in their sport does not make him or her a good coach. I coached with a Cy Young Award (top pitcher in the league award) Major League Baseball pitcher and he told me he did not know how to
teach youths to pitch. Coaching and developing athletes is a lot harder than playing or performing in a sport. An excellent coach is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget.
About Joe Sperle
Joe Sperle is a Professional Baseball & Sports Trailblazer, Executive & Consultant, and Founder of the Freedom Pro Baseball Minor League and has over 30 years of sports playing and professional coaching experience. Masters’ World Series & Father-Son World Series Champions, All-American and National Champion, and Inductee to the Softball Hall of Fame.
He is the author of the bestselling book, Athlete's Guide to Success - The Road to Becoming a Champion.
Joe trailblazed and started 4 professional minor league baseball teams creating and overseeing all business, stadium and baseball operations and signed and coached over 200 talented college players to their first pro contract with the Freedom Pro Baseball Minor League playing at the state-of-the art San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds spring training stadiums in Phoenix, AZ.
Joe has also coached and mentored over 300 Little League All-Stars and High School All-Region and All-State players who went on to attend college on a baseball scholarship. 48 players he coached were drafted by the Braves, Nationals, Brewers, White Sox , Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, A's, Rays, Royals, Mariners, Rangers, Angels & Diamondbacks.