What is the balance between fun and hard work in youth sports?
Do you ever struggle with balancing the fun and hard work in youth sports? Today’s guest post by Kyle Ohman from BasketballHQ.com, has some thoughts to help with that battle.
The other thing that happens is that coaches and parents only focus on having fun and the child really starts to enjoy the sport. However when they get older and want to continue to play team sports they are not good enough to continue because they missed out on all the fundamentals of the game when they were younger.
As a parent or coach you don’t want either of these things to happen to your kids. You want them to be able to enjoy the game while getting better. This means that you need to find a balance between fun and improvement. Being able to do this is key in the development of the young athlete and will build a foundation for the rest of their sports career. Here are 3 tips to help you balance things out.
Stress Effort Not Outcome
Every player is going to learn and develop at a different pace. This is especially true in youth before bodies begin to fully develop. The skill levels will most likely cover a pretty wide range and not every player will be able to do the same skills. That is why it is important to focus on the effort of the player and not the outcome.
Later in life everything will be more result-based but if you can develop your child’s drive for hard work then you can prepare them for the future.
Also if you only focus on the outcome and a player can’t quite get it, then you are going to discourage him/her and push them away from the game. You can’t do any better than your best, and that is what you need to focus on regardless of outcome.
Keep the Material Fresh
Kids are easily bored; if you do the same things every day you will lose their interest and they will associate sports with being boring. You must continually mix up training material, if you are working with them at home. It may take time to find drills or but the resources are out there (books, DVD’s, websites, etc.). Keep the kids interested and you will provide a better learning environment for them.
Just think about your own personal experiences. How much more likely are you to give maximum effort on something you are excited about compared to something that you have done a hundred times and are bored with?
Make Training Into a Game
By making training into a game you accomplish two things at the same time. First you make it more fun for the kids, and second you work on developing their competitiveness.
For example if you turn a basketball dribbling drill into a relay race you are making it fun for the kids but also still working on their ball handling skills. You don’t have to do this with every drill, but it really helps to mix it in every now and then.
Anytime you can make something that is challenging for the players fun, they will be more ready to give it their best effort.
As coaches and parents you have a responsibility to your kids. If you are going to be a part of their development in sports you need to give them the best chance for success.
It may take a little more effort on your end but it will be worth it when you realize the impact that you have made on their lives. Maybe they won’t continue sports as they get older, but it should be their choice. Find the right balance between fun and improvement for your kids and allow them to decide for themselves if they want to continue with sports as they get older.
Kyle Ohman was a 1,000-point scorer at Liberty University and was ranked 19th best shooter in the country by Fox Sports in his senior year. He played professionally in Spain, coached a high school basketball team that played on a national level, and recently co-founded BasketballHQ.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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