Polo is an opportunity to socialize people and help them understand themselves within a team framework. The polo coach is the guide to that higher level. Under the right mix, sports are a benefit to young minds that want to explore their physical abilities on their horses and their ability to work with others. Good sportsmanship is part of the process and a good coach will help young people gain a sense of self for mastery over their environment while developing helpful traits (I have seen some coaches do the opposite.)
Skill Development (Effective Polo Coaching):
A study at Nottingham Trent University (Nottingham, UK) found that polo coaches improved people's skills to understand their environment. Researchers conducted a test on situational awareness and found that polo players could detect ball placement much better than others as an indication of higher skill development. Polo Psychology
Values and Coaching (Good Polo Coaching):
You may want to read an article by Dr. Alen Goldberg on being a good or a bad coach. Good Coach vs. Bad Coach. The article highlights how coaches should walk the talk. One doesn't want to display poor behaviors or inadvertently encourage poor behaviors in players. Good coaches foster positive values within their teams that create a type of team cohesion through consistent pro performance practice.
Thus we find that coaches maintain positive sportsmanship values and enhance peoples performance skills. That is not the case in all sports and/or coaches. The younger the players, the more important it is for them to develop certain values and abilities.
Good polo coaches can develop the person as much as the player's skills. When coaches focus exclusively on skill without valuing sportsmanship we create toxic teams that won't succeed on or off the field in a consistent manner.
It is my belief that poor and/or toxic coaches should be removed from teaching young minds no matter how many games they win. Their goal is to develop the whole person. We want to see healthy and well developed sports players that win in live as much as they do on the field.
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