We believe that it is extremely important to have a youth program philosophy in order to have sound principles that help guide your decision making processes. This can be done or shaped by your program’s head coach or a collaboration between the head coach and your youth association. As the Bennett coaching family from Wisconsin would say in regards to program philosophy, “Firm in principle but flexible in approach.” Additionally, we recommend no more than three to five core values that shape this philosophy. Below is a sample of a youth association philosophy whose four core values or principles were to develop a work ethic, skill development, compete as a team, and have fun.
We wanted to thank you for supporting our basketball program and entrusting your child in our youth program. The purpose of this letter is to illustrate our program’s values and philosophy. We hope with your help and support this will make your child’s experience and our program a more positive and successful one.
Research has shown students perceive success in two very different ways called “task” and “ego” involved. These two ways influence the way they behave, think, and feel in an achievement setting such as basketball. In our program we do not think of success in terms of winning. Indeed winning is a strong motivating and important factor, however long-term athletic development and performance in successful students is more likely to occur when students evaluate themselves on things they can control rather then winning or losing a contest. These students are task involved.
Task involved students feel successful when they gain skill and knowledge, try hard, perform to the best of their abilities, experience personal improvement, and are focused on what they are doing at the moment. They primarily think about how to accomplish or get better at a task. If they achieve this level of focus and purpose, they feel confident and successful. Task involved students want to win and may be fiercely competitive. On the other end ego involved students tend to be preoccupied with adequacy of abilities compared to others (ratings) and outcome of contests. Success is winning. If this can be achieved with less preparation or effort compared to an opponent, so much the better. These behaviors of ego involved students tend to lead to high anxiety, poor training habits, and loss of interest in sport. By emphasizing outcomes and winning less mature or physically developed students during late childhood may struggle to compete against their bigger, quicker peers and may choose to drop out of sport prematurely because success is defined by winning.
In our program and with your help we will emphasize having fun, the importance of a strong work ethic, skill development/improvement, and competing as a team (task involved). Students and programs that view success with these values tend to have higher self-esteem and improved athletic performance. Drop out rates are much less as well. We hope you can support our philosophy and look forward to sharing a great basketball season with you.
Yours in Hoops,