There are certain moments in a youth soccer coach’s life when you can make a significant difference in a young person’s life, the kind of difference that the youngster will look back upon years later and realize it significantly affected her life.
Unfortunately, coaches are not given a script in advance to know when that moment will arrive. It simply happens, and a quick decision is the difference between making a good or poor decision. Ultimately, I think, whether or not the coach makes the right call comes down to the core convictions and principles by which the coach is guided.
The same applies for players. In a game or at practice, there are times when a player – knowingly or not – can have a positive influence on a teammate. It might be a kind word: “Great pass, Emily!” Or simply a fist bump when David’s head drops after he makes a mistake.
Professional athletes have the grandest stage to do the right thing. With tens of thousands in the stands and possibly millions watching on television, the pro player can be the cynic by raising his hand and claiming the throw-in is his when it clearly last touched him before going out of bounds … or he can simply back up and await the opposition’s restart. Doing the right thing at the moment may not seem like a lot, except when you realize that millions were on hand to witness it.