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Voices of the Nation: What is an important lesson you have learned from your student-athletes?

By NFHS on April 12, 2016 hst Print

 What is an important lesson you have learned from your student-athletes?


Dan Sabers
Head Football Coach
City High School
Iowa City, Iowa

I would say the most important lesson that I have learned as a football coach from my student-athletes is to continue to challenge each and every one daily regardless of their current ability level. There have been so many times throughout my career when I thought to myself that a particular student-athlete may never contribute to our program, only to have them prove me wrong. It is also one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching to develop that special relationship when a coach and athlete believe in each other and help each other to be more successful.

Dave Miller
Head Football Coach
Lakes High School
Lakewood, Washington

I started a zero hour leadership class last year to help our players grow as leaders and build a stronger bond between them. Our curriculum was “The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual” by Jeff Jansen. During the 10 weeks together, I observed an amazing bond that developed from sharing thoughts and ideas together. Our players discovered that leadership was more than they thought it was. I was surprised to learn that I got to know my players better and much more in depth from experiencing this class with them.

David Harbin
Head Boys Soccer Coach
Decatur High School
Decatur, Georgia

Recently, an alumni soccer player unexpectedly died – heartbreaking news for many in our soccer community. Before our next game, we read a few words of reflection written by his teammates, followed by a brief moment of silence. Our players, coaches, former coaches and alumni stood together at the center circle. As I listened, I looked up and saw a special group of young men standing in support of each other. The moment brought perspective to what is really important. In our soccer community we place a lot of value on hard work, commitment, discipline and all the other characteristics that participation in athletics can teach; however, in this circle my boys reminded me that in the end, it’s all about relationships.

Will Hostrawser
Head Football Coach/Athletic Director
LaVille Junior-Senior High School
Lakeville, Indiana

My student-athletes have taught me the necessity in balancing all of life’s many priorities. Student-athletes are an extremely resilient bunch of students. They continually amaze me on a variety of fronts – most notably their organizational skills balancing their family responsibilities, the student work load, sports and, for some, a job. Each day they show up and give their best efforts in the classroom and on the playing field. Their efforts empower me to provide an environment in which they excel on all fronts. I strive to be there for all my players both as a coach and as a mentor.