Coaching Sports Do Teenagers Really Need a Job

"I wish I could be out for this season but I have to work."."Really, why do you have to work?"."Because I need a car.

"."Why do you need a car?"."So I can get to work.".If you are a high school coach, I'm sure that you have had a conversation similar to this one with one of your young athletes.

It seems that the almighty job is pulling more and more student athletes away from being involved in sports.So, do most of these athletes really need to work?.I would argue that the answer is "no.".But, how do you get that message across to teenagers? You can't pay them to play for you.

Why else are they working?.Many young adults are working because their parents want them to earn money, learn responsibility and learn the value of hard work.What's a poor coach to do?.Reason Number One: "I need money.

".Does your student athlete need money or do they want money? There is a big difference. Needing money would involve helping to support their family.

Working to buy food, clothing and shelter - the basic necessities - is probably a valid reason to choose a job over sports. I don't believe that this is the case in most situations.How many students at your school have car payments - or motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile or boat payments for that matter? It is a shame that we push students into debt at such an early age. Are these items necessary for a sixteen or seventeen year old? Talk about a trap.

I would argue to let teenagers stay teenagers a bit longer. They will have the next 40 to 50 years to earn a paycheck and buy "stuff" when they reach adulthood. Their athletic window of opportunity, however, is limited. Once they graduate from high school, the majority will never have another opportunity to play competitive sports.

Money for wants is not a valid reason to miss out on sports. Do we really want money to be a young person's main motivator anyway?.Reason Number Two: "A job teaches them responsibility.".But, won't sports teach them that same value? Being on a team includes being responsible for their behavior, for their grades to stay eligible, for their effort in practice and in games, for being places on time, setting priorities and on and on and on.

These lessons can be learned without working 20 or 30 hours per week.Learning responsibility does not need to come from the world of work at this early age.Reason Number Three: "A job teaches them the value of hard work.

".Let's talk about the hard work of a student athlete. Go to school for 7 to 8 hours per day. Practice for another 2 hours. Games 2 to 3 times per week.

Studying and homework to make sure they can still play. Maybe even some chores at home. This all adds up to well over 40 hours per week.

And all without having an actual "job." How many adults are willing to work this many hours per week in their jobs?.And what better way to see hard work pay off. Dedication and putting in the time and the effort leads to success on the field, on the court, on the track, in the pool, etc. True cause and effect can be seen when hard work pays off in improved performance.Being a student athlete is already hard work.

So, there you are. Some ammunition to use when you are losing athletes to work. Will this change the mind of every parent and student that you run across? Of course not. But you may be surprised at how explaining the benefits of athletics can help keep some athletes that you may have lost.

Remind people of the hard work and responsibility that come with remaining a student athlete. Just maybe they will wait a bit longer for that car.

.Copyright, Tim Kauppinen, 2005.This article is protected by copyright, 2005, Tim Kauppinen.

All rights reserved.Tim Alan Kauppinen, or Coach K, has over 20 years experience as an athlete and coach. He has worked with athletes of all ages and abilities in track and field, football, speed training and strength and conditioning. This has given him the privilege and the opportunity to coach athletes who have become conference champions, state champions and Division I college players. Coach K publishes a free daily fitness email with current tips on getting stronger, faster and in the best shape of your life.

To sign up for this no cost service, visit Coach K's website at

By: Tim Kauppinen

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