- How often have you seen a coach get mad over a game? Sadly it’s an all too common sight in youth leagues around the world. Sometimes, a coach can be so concerned with winning that he/she will take the fun away from the game, which is discouraging and disheartening for the player.
- But it shouldn’t be that way. The relationship between a young player and their first coach is something which anyone, regardless of their eventual level, can treasure for life. In the short term, developing a mutually respectful relationship will only further motivate the player and speed up his/her development. An article from the
- , which was also the inspiration for this article, keeps it real:
Want a surefire way to be a great youth coach? Lighten up! Here’s a tip. Not one of your games will be Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Billions of people don’t even know you exist, let alone feel that your practices and games are important. Recreational league and even elite travel team coaches should understand that kids want to play sports and to have FUN!
Scientific research backs this statement up. A study conducted by the Michigan State University, discovered that “having fun” was the number one reason children of ages 10-12 gave for playing sport. Even when surveying competitive school players, wanting to win was only 8th on the list of priorities. Getting angry with your young players is a guaranteed way to make them want to quit it.
- Here are four strategies to keep in mind to help you develop a healthy coaching philosophy and a fun environment for your players:
1. Communicate Critically but Positively
- It can be tempting to cast blame across the team after a terrible game. A more productive solution would be to determine what went wrong together, in practice the next day. If individuals are struggling with a skill, try the “compliment sandwich approach”. State something the player did well, then give them a specific correction, before restating the compliment.
2. Be a Great Role Model
- It should be no surprise that your young players will look to your example to see how you deal with other coaches, parents and referees. A bad call may impact the outcome of one game but a bad reaction can influence how your players treat the game for life. Lead the way by showing respect and sportsmanship to other players by shaking hands with the other team, thanking the officials and parents etc etc.
3. Keep the Bigger Picture in Mind
- Coaching gives you the opportunity to impact a child’s life in a way few people can. A player may not remember the score, but they’ll take with them a solid work ethic, positive outlook to life and countless fun memories. How will your players remember you in 10-20 years time?
4. Stay a Student of the Game
- Inside every great coach is the drive to constantly learn more about the game they love. Take advantage of the internet to connect with other coaching organizations and find great resources. The wealth of information inside the Coachbase Practice Planner could be a start!
Hopefully, these 4 strategies for developing the mentality of an all star coach were helpful to you. Got any tips for other coaches? Be sure to contribute on our Facebook or twitter
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Until next time, see you on the courts!
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