Youth Fitness Coaches Integrity




Youth Fitness Coaches

by Dr. Toby Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, YCS-II, PES


olympic lifts

“Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.”  -Don Galer


It is a difficult time for anyone, particularly entrepreneurial newcomers, to be in business given the corporate climate in our nation and our world.  With one time “blue chip,” can’t miss stocks selling for pennies on the dollar, 401k’s evaporating before our very eyes, and staggering job losses the world over, it is tempting to consider means by which to trim excesses and help the bottom line. 


Despite some signs that the economy is on the way back to vitality, it is always appropriate, particularly when working with impressionable young athletes, to consider this one universal truth: coaches are role models.  Whether it is one the field, on the court, or in the office, your athletes are watching.


While several high profile celebrities might argue the point, those same individuals could probably easily identify a particular childhood hero, a family member, a teacher, or yes- even a coach, who left an indelible mark on their soul.  The greatest coaches across all sports share the uncanny ability to get us to believe in ourselves and to become the best we possibly can.  At the same time, the impact of their very lives on the thoughts, words, and deeds of the athletes in their charge cannot be over-emphasized. 


The bottom line here is that parents entrust that which they hold most dear in the world- their kids- to youth fitness coaches in the hopes that we can lead those children to greater success.

  Oftentimes the dedicated pursuit or athletic improvement in and of itself can foster more positive behavior patterns such as improved study habits and grades, general behavioral disposition, and social skill.  With that trust comes an enormous responsibility.  There is no question that a marked demand exists for people worthy of being esteemed as role models.  Sadly, what is lacking is an adequate supply of qualified candidates. 


I encourage you today to be a man or woman of integrity.  Be someone worthy of being looked up to by your young athletes.  Be that someone their parents can trust without hesitation.  Be the exception to the rule.  It is good for business.  It is good for compliance.  But most of all, it’s good for your soul.



Dr. Toby Brooks

  • Director of Research & Education, IYCA
  • Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University Athletic Training Education Program
  • Creative Director, NiTROhype Creative (www.nitrohype.com)


6 Responses

  1. Liz Donnelly says:

    Excellent lesson, Toby! Let’s give three cheers for integrity because, boy, do we need that in every facet of our lives.

    Also, what would our world be like if our media focused on people of integrity more than playing up the scandals, back-door shenanigans and otherwise negative aspects of our culture?


  2. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:

    Amen. Coaches and Teachers have too, above all else, rise above the fray. Why? Because the kids need us too. Because they are our most important (and most lucrative, if you’re counting) resource. Not because we get paid a lot to. In the end, this ends up being a pretty empty reason to do something.

    The only reason we are concerned about how much money this field makes is that we want to keep those who know what they’re doing in it for the long haul.

    Even if you want to make money…Long term, it IS all about integrity. Aside from the obvious Madoff type scandals, just look at the big banking firms that failed DIRECTLY because of a lack of integrity (short selling, overselling stocks, etc.). Sure people made money in the short term, but ask those folks about their portfolios NOW!

    None of us can let this organization become the Bear Sterns of fitness. We are the Apple of fitness. WE are the Bill Gates Foundation of fitness. We make money to bring about change!

  3. Dave Gleason says:

    Double Amen!

    Principles vs. values (numbers). Skill development before performance. Integrity used to be something we thrived on in all industries. Now it seems to be the exception not the norm. WE are so blessed to be in a postion to be an example and a mentor to young athletes.

    Great article Toby!


  4. Tom Hurley says:

    How often have we heard it said “Do it because I said so…”, Toby hit the nail on the head in supporting my “DO IT BECAUSE I LIVE SO” philosophy when I teach kids. Does that imply that as teachers,coaches, and trainers we are above making mistakes? Absolutely not, but it sure helps our students, athletes and clients when they see us work through our own mistakes with the same integrity that we live by. KUDOS Toby.


  5. Colin Fannon says:

    I agree with everything you are saying Toby. I also think integrity means remembering what you stand for and who you are, even if your not get the result you want or seeing the fruits of your labor. The iyca has helped teach to step out of frustration of not getting the result I was training my clients for, and into belief in patience in teaching. Intergrity to me is hold fast to the truth of how really progress is made despite what I might be seeing with my eyes. Kids need to be inspired to believe in themselves and we are the coaches who need to help bringthat to fruition.

  6. Judy Chase says:

    Oh how unfortunate it is that as i read all the negative traits that coaches have today, my son seems to have had them as his baseball coaches. The “it’s not about you, it’s about the kids”, would be such a refreshing view. His high school coach continues, to this day, to boast about his D1 playing days and tell these impressionable players how much better he is than they are. That is why as an owner of an indoor Baseball/Softball facility and my son who is studying phys ed to become a coach, we are looking to break that cycle. To teach the kids to become more confident kids and keep the focus on them is what we strive through our education from the IYCA.

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