Beyond the X’s and O’s: Defining a Coaching Culture

Coaches make a huge impact in the life of any young athlete.  In fact, Rev. Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more young people in one year than the average person does in a lifetime.” That impact can be either positive or negative.  Unfortunately, it is true that second to parent involvement, coaches are the leading cause of why youth drop out of sports altogether. 

This is why it is so important to choose, not only the right program, but to choose one that has a quality coach.  One way to do that is to ask a potential coach these questions:

  • Why do you coach?
  • Why do you coach the way you do?
  • What is it like for an athlete to be coached by you?
  • What is your coaching philosophy?

These answers to some of these questions can quickly give you an indication to whether a coach is the right fit for your young athlete.

At Upward Sports, we understand the importance of a coach on the young athlete, which is why we are dedicated and committed to reclaiming the landscape of youth sports for the benefit of the athlete. And this starts with creating a positive and encouraging coaching culture.

Upward Coaches have a passion for the sport, for their athletes, and for Christ, which creates a unique culture that separates an Upward Sports league from anything else in the youth sports landscape. As a result, Upward Sports coaches go the extra mile to ensure EVERY athlete, regardless of skill, feels:

  • Welcomed
  • Appreciated
  • Inspired
  • Confident

So, whether you are in the process of deciding which program is best for your young athlete, or if you are interested in becoming a coach yourself, consider the following characteristics of an Upward Sports coach and how they can help prepare your child for success in the game and in life.


  • Value long-term development over short-term gains
  • Greets each player by name when arriving to practice and games
  • Genuinely affirms, encourages, and celebrates an athlete and team’s success/growth
  • Are organized, focused, and engaging
  • Trained and knowledgeable as to properly teach game rules, concepts, and strategies
  • Are role models for his/her athletes by putting the gospel on display in ALL interactions
  • Help athletes understand their life’s purpose within the bigger picture of God’s vision
  • Act as a catalyst in the development of healthy friendships among teammates
  • Teach sportsmanship while also instilling a competitive spirit
  • Communicate well with parents

We at Upward Sports believe it is important to Play With Purpose, however before that can happen we need leaders to step up and Coach With Purpose.  When that happens, it creates the best sports experience for both young athletes and their parents.

For more on youth coaching, check out the conversation and resources on Winning Youth Coaching.