Caring and Sports



This page was written for the video "Caring" in the "In Search of Character" video series. We think you will find it very useful even if you aren't using the videos.


Some thoughts from Dr. Mike on Athletics and Caring before you begin:

Coaches are, first and foremost, teachers; they are among the most influential people in a young athlete’s life. Because coaches are such powerful role models, young athletes learn more from them about character than about athletic performance. Coaches who truly care about their athletes and show it by treating them in caring ways, are actually teaching these kids how to be caring people, themselves. Caring people are responsive to the concerns and needs of others. They treat people with kindness, concern, and generosity. They are charitable, giving of themselves unselfishly for the benefit of others. And they are never mean, cruel, or insensitive. Coaches can model caring behavior by taking a genuine and continual interest in each athlete as a person. Coaches should willingly counsel, advise, encourage and console without regard to athletic performance, and become knowledgeable about support programs for athletes that address academic, emotional, and social issues that may arise. They should teach and model kindness and compassion for others, and they should teach and demand teamwork and discourage selfishness. Caring is one of the pillars of good character.


Questions for discussion with student athletes: (If you are using the video, ask these questions after viewing. If you are not using the video, skip question 1.)

1. How did the story of Gillian and her day camp make you feel? What did you learn from it? (If you are not using the video, skip this question.)

2. What does caring have to do with the quality of your character?

3. What kind of reputation do we want as a team in the area of caring?

4. Is there any room in sports for caring people, or is it everyone for him/herself?

5. In sports, if you’re not selfish how can you compete?

6. What do you think athletes should care about besides athletic performance? Explain your answer.

7. In what ways do athletes show that they care about the team as a whole? In what ways do they show that they do not?

8. In what ways to athletes show that they care about their teammates? In what ways do they show that they do not?

9. Think of yourself as a coach. What would be the benefits of having a team full of athletes who show that they care about each other?

- for the team as a whole?

- for the team's reputation?

- for athlete-to-athlete relations?

- for athlete-to-coach relations?

- for a winning season?

- for possible scholarship to universities?

- for team attitude?

- for lockeroom morale?

10. Name something you personally could relate to in this video program and tell why?

11. You have been hired as a consultant on good character. What three suggestions would you have for improving the level of caring behavior on the team?

12. Who is the most caring person you know? Why did you select that person?

13. Imagine that someday you are the coach of a team. You need to give the team a brief talk on how caring relates to your sport. What would you say?

14. Does it matter to you whether or not people who know you regard you as a caring person?

15. Everyone on our team should contribute in some way, even if they do not participate in the event. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

16. Caring and teamwork require forgiving the mistakes of others. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

17. Great teamwork can overcome great talent. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

18. I'm better at this activity because of my teammates. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

19. It’s uncool to be a caring person. Do you agree or disagree? Why?



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