Articles Written By Dale Lee

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Church Recreation Ministry Team Coach©

Article Directory
The Coach
Responsibilities of a Sport Team’s Coach
Develop a Mission Statement and Goals for a Sport Team
Determine the Team’s Bylaws That Will Govern the Team and its Members
Players Playing at the Direction of the Coach
Selecting Which Team Members Are Starters and Substitutes
Teaching Team Members to Play the Sport
Teaching Team Members to Play as a Team
When a Player Gets Hurt
Coach’s Relatives Play on the Team
Responsibilities That Can Get Dumped on the Coach
Your Comment Is Wanted

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The Coach

The person in charge of a Church Recreation Ministry (CRM) team has the responsibility of getting the team members to perform as a team. The position is called a coach or a manager depending on the sport. For this article the position is called a coach. The coach is responsible for the team and team members following the league’s and team’s bylaw and rules.

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Responsibilities of a Sport Team's Coach

A team’s coach has many responsibilities that will take a lot of his time during the season. The following is a sample listing of a team’s coach’s responsibilities.

Attend CRM and league meetings.


Know and enforce the CRM’s, league’s, and team’s bylaws and rules.


Know the rules that govern the sport, the name of the governing body that established the rules, and how to obtain copies of the rules.


Select or identify team members.


Maintain a team roster.


Plan and conduct team practices.


Coordinate the efforts of people that help operate the team.


Determine the importance of winning games.


Determine the team’s bylaws that are needed to operate the team.


Determine the importance of each player playing in each game. The league bylaws may have specific instructions for dealing with this issue.


Maintain control of the action of the team’s players during the games.


Determine whom plays each position and the time played during each game.


Provide any needed training to help team members play the game.


Teach the team members to play as a team.


The skill level of the team’s players may dictate what a coach needs to do to prepare his team members to play games.


Make sure the team’s players have the appropriate team uniform.


Secure the team’s game schedule and distribute the schedule to team players.


Notify players of a change to the team’s schedule of games?


Keep track of who will be available to play each game.


Deal with parents and fans that know more about coaching the team than the coach.


Work with the CRM Team to determine how the money is secured to finance the team’s expenses.


Obtain and maintain the equipment the team furnishes the players.


If there is a team fellowship before or following the team’s season, assign a person to plan the fellowship?

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Develop a Mission statement and Goals for a Sport Team

It is helpful for the coach if the team has a mission statement and supporting goals. A team’s mission statement and goals can be used as a guide for the coach as he makes decisions as he leads the team.

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Determine the Team's Bylaws That Will Govern the Team and its Members

A team’s bylaws will address specific issues that are not covered by organization’s bylaws and rules such as the league and church’s CRM. The team’s bylaws will not contradict the other organization’s bylaws and rules

Issues can be included in the bylaws are:

      What determines when a person is a member of the team?

      When can a person be added to the team roster?

      When and how can a person be removed from the team roster?

      How does the removal of a person affect any fee that the person has contributed to the team?

      Is there a date when the team roster is frozen for the season?

      Can a person be a member of the team and not a member of the church?

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Players Playing at the Direction of the Coach

A coach has a challenge of getting the team’s players to play at his direction. The coach decides which player starts a game and when a player gets to play in the game as a substitute. The coach has to establish that he is in charge and the players are to play according to his decisions. Specific plays are designed by the coach so the team members can play as a unit and get the best performance from the players.

When a coach makes a decision, a player and fans may disagree with the decision. This issue can make a coach wish he was not the coach. The reactions of some players, fans, parents, etc. will sometimes cause a coach to quit. Parents can be very difficult for a coach to deal with while he strives to be a positive role model for the team members.

Some players and fans may believe that the only measure that a coach doing a good job is if the team is winning.

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Selecting Which Team Members Are Starters and Substitutes

The determination of which player is a “starter” and which player is a “bench warmer” is often determined by the individual player’s strength, speed, skill level, etc. These factors are the same if the team includes women, men, or both women and women.

Deciding who is to be selected to be a starter can create problems for a coach. Some people think they are better than what the coach thinks. Some people will think they should play the entire game, and it is acceptable for some people to not get to play. A coach that has several players that have similar skill levels will struggle as he decides who will play the first part of a game and who will play the last part of a game. In theory, the coach will try to balance the skill level of the players when he makes substitutions so the team is as strong at the end of the game as it is at the beginning of the game.

It is an interesting fact that a team that is winning its games will have fewer complaints from its players and fans than a team that is not winning its games.

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Teaching Team Members to Play the Sport

Providing instructions on how to play the sport is an important part of coaching a children and youth team. Instruction on how to play a sport is not normally a part of the duties of coaching an adult amateur sport team. Coaching a team that is organized to be a winning team will include an effort by the coach or an assistant coach to help the team members improve their skill level.

Practices are the time when a coach teaches players. For children and youth teams, it is good to have several people that will attend the practices to help the coach teach the team members. The volunteer instructors are to remember that they work at the instruction of the coach. A game is where the team members find out how well they have learned what the coach has been trying to teach.

Encouraging children and youth while teaching them the skills to play the sport is an important part of a coach’s job. Because people develop their physical, mental, and emotional skills at different times as they are growing, the ability to encourage people can be what keeps a person trying to learn how to be a better player.

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Teaching Team Members to Play as a Team

An important aspect of teaching people to play a team sport is to teach them how to play as a team. Team members learning to execute organized plays is important to improving the skill level of the team. Different positions on a team will at times require different physical skills to play the sport. Getting the players to understand the value of each position to the success of the team is a step in getting players to work as a team.

There are offensive skills and defensive skills that need to be learned by each team member. Some team members will be better at learning one set of skills than the other set of skills. It is common for players to take longer to learn the defensive skills related to a sport than the offensive skills. A good player is able to physically and mentally play the sport.

A challenge to coaching an amateur adult sport team is getting the self defined “star” to play with the other team members as a team. Playing as a team member is a mental skill that is hard for some people to learn. The power and winning ability of a specific team depends on how effective the team members are at playing as a team.

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When a Player Gets Hurt

Pray that a player never gets hurt. With the physical contact that is normal in sports, a player will get hurt. The adult weekend warrior type player will experience aches and pains from muscles and body parts being used in ways they are not normally used when sitting at a desk. Most adult and youth players accept the aches and pains as a part of playing sports and especially playing while being out of shape.

Parents’ and children’s reaction to an injury will at times seem to be over reacting. Some children are able to handle pain while other children will react with tears and lots of crying to the same type of injury. How a child or parent reacts to an injury cannot be controlled by the coach. The parent’s reaction may cause more problems for the coach than how the child responds to an injury.

A coach cannot prevent the contact that can occur in the process of playing the sport. The coach does need to do what he can to keep non game injuries from occurring during the game. Children getting bored during the game while sitting on the bench can get into trouble. It is best if an adult is assigned to keep watch over the activities of the players while sitting on the bench. The coach with his attention focused on the game may not notice what is happening on the bench.

A coach needs to have a plan in place to deal with an injured player so all he has to do is to react to the injury instead of having to think on his feet as to what is to be done. It is best for the CRM leaders to plan the procedure as to how the coach and other team and league officials are to react to an injury. The procedure is to be given to team members and parents when appropriate. It is not an injury, but a player having a reaction to medicine he takes should be considered when planning what should be done when a player is injured.

A lawyer and doctor should be consulted when planning the procedure to deal with an injured player. Do not be surprised if a law suit or threat of a law suit is a result of a player being injured. It is good for information sake and intent purposes to have each player and parent when appropriate to sign a medical release form. A signed medical release form will not stop a law suit.

To be on the safe side, the coach needs to prepare a written statement as soon as possible stating his perspective concerning how the injury occurred and what action was taken as a result of the injury. This is to help the coach’s memory if he is asked questions about the injury.

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Coach's Relatives Play on the Team

A smart coach will not allow a relative to play on the team he coaches. Why is a relative a potential problem? A relative may think he is entitled to preferential treatment even if he is not a good player. A child may not react in a positive manner to his father, uncle, grandpa, aunt, mother, etc. being critical of how he is playing. It is common for a parent of one of the players on the team to be the coach so the players will have a team.

Treat the relative on the team as you treat the other players. You can only control what you do and say. How other people respond to you is out of your control.

If one of your better players is a relative, the relative may become a source of complaints by players, parents, and fans. This is a potential problem being a coach. You cannot control what other people think and say. Treat players, parents, fans, game officials, etc. the way you want to be treated. This is all you can do.

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Responsibilities That Can Get Dumped on the Coach

When possible, activities not related to the actual playing of a game or a team’s practice should be assigned to another person by the coach. These types of activities can be collecting fees, distributing and collecting uniforms, raising money, providing snacks (children), end of season picnic, etc. These activities can drain a coach’s energy and cause him to not be interested in coaching the next season.

Who will wait with a player after the game until his parent arrives? This is a question that all coaches of children’s teams will have to face. Some parents will use the game time to dump their child so they can perform errands and may not return by the time the game is over. This will happen so plan for it. This will not be the child’s fault, but there may be a tendency for an adult to let the irritation show in his reaction to the child. Be careful. The child will probably be as disgusted with his parent as the team’s coach. Good luck on handling a parent that is habitually late in picking up their child.

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Your Comment Is Wanted

If you have a question or comment about the content of this article written by Dale Lee, notify Dale. When you send an e-mail, be sure to include the article in question's title, your name, and your comments/questions. Dale is interested in hearing from you.

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June 28, 2005