I have enjoyed coaching youth sports for 10 years. Many obstacles have come my way, but I am encouraged to share my tips on how to overcome the challenges so that you can reap the rewards.
Patience is the key. Whether training for a new skill, repeating yourself every practice, or caught up in an intense game or match, patience is crucial. Coaches have the uncanny responsibility for presenting teachable moments to their players. These moments of displaying patience are essential to character building skills used in athletics and everyday life. Just as important, I have to continually find patience with myself if a coaching decision doesn’t produce the anticipated results.
Talk to your team. I encourage providing feedback because it fosters growth. I talk to my players during drills, pre and post-game meetings, and throughout the game. Your athletes need to hear the positive and corrective reinforcement. In turn, encourage your team to ask any and all questions. Promote open communication amongst teammates and address team disputes immediately. Working in a group and communicating ideas and emotions will provide your players skills that will also benefit them off the playing field.
The beginning of a sport season is full of hopes and anticipated outcome. I ask my players to document their personal and team goals which includes seasonal objectives and long term developmental goals. In addition, I ask for their commitment to these targets. This documentation will act as a reminder throughout the season to continue to strive for improvement and provide retrospect at the end of the season.
Enjoy the Small Victories
The small steps are usually overlooked in their importance, but I place great emphasis on them. They are the foundation of an athlete’s development. These moments of discovery after numerous attempts and training create the reactions used in game situations. The increase in successful game time decisions create the milestone moments. These victories complement the goals set by the team and individual.
Make It Fun
At the end of it all, remember they are kids who want to have fun playing a sport they enjoy. I incorporate team games, fun warm up activities, or even break from a practice for a team bonding activity to maintain a healthy balance. Building a passion for a sport could last them through their lifetime and it’s the reason I’m a coach.