Take the time to say hello, thank you and goodbye

Somehow, these words have escaped the vocabulary of countless children.

I began coaching in my local community over 15 years ago, when my son was four years old.

I absolutely love coaching; but, over the past few years, I have noticed a lack of basic manners from a lot of young athletes.

In Canada, sports programs rely heavily on volunteer coaches, many of whom sacrifice countless evenings and weekends with their own families to coach other people’s children.

It is amazing the number of kids who fail to display the most basic manners toward these dedicated individuals; simple language such as “hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye,” which are typically learned by the age of two.

Somehow, these words have escaped the vocabulary of countless children.

I have coached many kids who have never said, “hello,” upon arrival at practice; have never said, “goodbye,” at the end of practice; and you can forget about, “thank you.”

I recall making sure my own kids used those words, and I was always quick to remind them if they did not.

In conversations with other coaches, many have pointed the finger at the parents of these ill-mannered youngsters, citing absence of proper training at home as the reason for these children’s lack of manners. I am not sure whether that is the reason in every case, but it most certainly is in some.

I believe there might be a greater issue at play here — just think about how this generation of kids spends the majority of their time. They are constantly communicating via text or social media apps on their cellphones, so everyday face-to-face conversation isn't something they might be overly comfortable with.

The fact that their parents are now having to pay a lot more for them to participate in community sport programs might be another reason they feel they can behave with this lack of regard or appreciation for their coaches.

I would like to challenge all of the parents and those who participate in community sports to return to the basics. Fundamental words that reflect manners, appreciation and respect that parents were taught by their parents when first learning to speak need to return to everyday interaction.

Parents and athletes: take a moment to look up from that cellphone screen and say “hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye,” to your coach.