There is no better way to kick off the NFL season than with Bob Costas and NYU's Sports and Society. Sports are often referred to as fun and games, and they are, but they are also far more than that. Sports are a reflection of the most fundamental norms and values that shape human society. Sports represent escape from the world, but they are also a huge presence within the world. They account for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, and bring together more nations and groups than any political entity is capable of doing. Sports are a testbed for science and medicine as well as for teaching, communicating and mentoring.
Sports are big business: they fuel the media and are critical to advertising and merchandising many of the world’s most lucrative products. Sports shape the beliefs and values of our children. Sports have led the way in societal reform and ethical progress. Sports create our heroes, villains and pariahs.Despite all this, there is no single academic program that is devoted to examining the meaning, morality and impact of sports on a global scale, in an intensive and interdisciplinary fashion. The NYU Sports and Society Program (NYUSSP) seeks to become the go-to academic program in the world for discussions of all aspects of sports and society.
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Hi, I’m Bob Costas. You may know me from a variety of things, but you may not know that I’m also an advisory board member of NYU’s Sports and Society, and I’m very interested in youth sports. Did you know that coaches are second only to parents in the influence they have on the lives of young athletes? As a coach, you have more influence than you may realize. The kids you coach will carry your lessons for their entire lives; positive and negative.
We want to help you lead them to be strong, respectful, and effective adults. So welcome to NYU’s Sports and Society’s toolkit for creating a lasting culture of respect, civility, and success in your athletic program. The importance of sports to children’s development can’t be overstated. By teaching physical conditioning, individual skills in preparation for competition…to helping young athletes improve at the sports they love. But there’s more to what you do than mere physical training.
Each choice a coach makes affects athletes’ mental, social, and emotional development, as well as their readiness to play. Understanding this responsibility is just as critical to the success of your athletes and teams as physical training and skills development. The best way to use your influence and enhance your athletes’ lives is to promote positive culture; an atmosphere of respect around your team. NYU’s Sports and Society designed the videos and other tools on this website to help you reach that goal.
Why should you as a coach care about culture? Well, teams characterized by respect and civility are more cohesive and have a better chance actually of winning. Just as important; these virtues provide the best foundation for your athletes’ mental and emotional health for the rest of their lives, and we do mean the rest of their lives. Think about your own memories from your teenage years and your sports experiences, and how they’ve stuck with you.
Taking responsibility for your team’s culture sets up a tradition of excellence for your athletic program that reflects well on you, your school, and your community. NYU’s Sports and Society is providing concepts and techniques to integrate into your personal coaching style. These strategies can help you frame your entire approach to leadership. Individual videos like the one you’re watching now will discuss what it means to be firm and fair, how to focus on constructive criticism, and how to earn additional respect by living your own principles.
Each video will offer key components of team building that often get overlooked; like organizing your season ahead of time, setting short targets and long term goals for your team and for each individual player, building trust, building team spirit, defining how to work with parents toward your team’s goals, setting behavior expectations, and recognizing and understanding abusive behavior like hazing and bullying. Click through the topics - they build on each other. But you don’t have to go in any specific order; you can always go back and watch something again. These tools are yours, so use them in your own way. And we’ll be adding to them, so check back with us often.
By making team culture part of your job, you become the role model, mentor and leader that your athletes will want to follow. You can help them become better players on the field, and better people off the field. And they’ll always remember these experiences.