Coaches are a vital component of any youth athlete’s experience. A good coach can leave an impression and influence a youth athlete in a very positive way. On the other hand, a bad coach can put a player in a position where they may never want to play competitive sports again. As a coach in youth athletics, we must realize our influence and consciously engage and teach in a way that will have the athletes who play for us wanting to be more engaged in their sport. Please see the information below on ways we can be good youth coaches positively impacting our players. Also, please fill out the information below and hit “send” if you want to engage more and gather more information on coaching youth athletes.
Youth coaches fill a critical role in the development of young athletes. They are tasked with igniting young athletes' competitive spirits, teaching fundamentals, and creating an atmosphere where children are having fun. My belief is that the youth coach should be judged on only two criteria: did the coach teach the kids proper fundamental skills and techniques and do most players want to continue playing the sport for another season? If the answer to these questions is "yes," then you have done your job well!
Often, parent volunteers fill the roles of coaches in youth sports. It can be difficult to coach your child's team, conduct yourself with an impartial attitude, and give all children a good sports experience. Frequently, parent-coaches will show preferential treatment toward their children by giving them more of the spotlight than the rest of the team. Some youth coaches believe this is justified as they are volunteers giving their time to coach young athletes. When this mentality is prevalent youth coaches must refocus their thoughts on our two key goals.
My belief is that the role of the youth coach consists of actively doing the following things:
- Focus on skill training and development.
- Facilitate practices in which athletes can develop skills in a small group setting to interact with coaches one-on-one as frequently as possible. Furthermore, teams should have enough coaches to work in small groups for position or skill specific work during each practice.
- Make practice drills fun and engaging with an emphasis on everyone on the team being involved and active for the entirety of the practice time.
- Coaches should equally distribute playing time among athletes in sixth grade and below on both recreational and travel league teams.
- Coaches should challenge young athletes to focus on effort and competitiveness rather than winning and losing.
- It is paramount that teamwork is emphasized in practice and competition.
- Step back from over-coaching and allow young athletes to be creative and to learn from their mistakes.
- Have fun! You are not building a resume for further opportunities to coach, rather you are trying to leave a positive, lasting impact on young athletes.