Athletic directors and coaches play an important role in a student athlete’s life. Athletic directors provide guidance and direction for school athlete programs. Their leadership sets the tone of good sportsmanship and respect within the programs in which coaches and athletes participate. They have the authority to hire coaches that reinforce proper value systems.
Coaches have a tremendous responsibility to positively influence their team as athletes develop very strong bonds with coaches. Coaches hold an important leadership role at a very significant and impressionable time in an athlete’s life. Part of this responsibility is to promote positive lifestyle choices among the athletes. When a coach talks to players about the importance of nutrition and the dangers of sleep deprivation and drugs, the message is more effective because “Coach” is speaking.
Research shows that nearly half of all alcoholics and drug addicts in the United States became addicted before the age of 25. Statistics reveal that the ten most dangerous years of life are ages 14 – 24. Lifelong habits that directly affect health and well-being are formed in high school and just beyond. Coaches have the authority to send the message clearly and forcefully, in both words and actions, that alcohol, illegal drugs, poor sleep habits and junk food are a bad idea, which is even truer for athletes. Life of an Athlete (LoA) provides the tools necessary to proactively send that message and profoundly influence student athletes as well as those directly concerned with these individuals.