10 Ways to Improve Your Coaching

Just like players, coaches are developed through education that is tested and refined in actual situations. Unfortunately, there are no practices for coaches where they can master their skills before actually applying them. This lack of practice forces coaches to take responsibility for their own education and improvement. Here are 10 suggestions.

  1. Search the bookstore and the Internet.
  2. Talk with other coaches.
  3. Get feedback from parents.
  4. Get feedback from players.
  5. Attend training sessions.
  6. Watch other youth games.
  7. Videotape practices.
  8. Ask a parent to help with non-coaching tasks.
  9. Organize and plan ahead.
  10. Have fun.

While coaches often start with sports knowledge, transferring this knowledge into the heads of young players may pose a new set of challenges. Coaches may sometimes feel that their problems are unique. However, with over 2.5 million volunteer youth coaches and over 30 million kids in youth sports, every coaching frustration is repeated many times over. This experience base is available to any coach who actively seeks it out

Choosing Sports Heroes

It is easy for kids to admire professional athletes who stand out in their sport. This admiration often takes the form of “hero worship” and gives kids someone to mimic in their path to adulthood. Most parents encourage this behavior through buying jerseys and seeking autographs.

However, as recent news accounts only reconfirm, there is more to professional athletes than just their performance. A professional player’s conduct away from the game is often unknown. Most fans don’t know a player’s morals, ethics, work habits and respect for teammates or for fans. Thus, most parents don’t really know if they want their child to grow up mimicking the life choices of a specific professional athlete.

For kids who want heroes and parents who want role models there can be conflict. One way around this conflict is for parents to begin distinguishing between admiration for a player’s abilities and admiration for a player. For example, saying that a professional player is a great athlete is different than saying a professional player is a great person. Parents can help focus their children on players whose community actions are admirable even if the player’s game actions are not at the superstar level. Helping kids understand the difference between a player as a person and a player as an athlete is the key to providing the right role models to children.