What do you look for in a youth sports coach?
Someone who wins? Teaches kids the strategy of the game? Has fun?
These are all good traits for a coach, but I believe that there is one trait in particular that a topnotch youth sports coach should have. One trait that will help your child have a positive and learning experience in sports.
When checking out teams or leagues, Look for a coach who does not just develop skills, but develops individuals.
Last year I attended a leadership conference called Advance One Day in Ft. Myers. Mike Ash, executive pastor of Next Level Church, talked about developing people in the workplace using this philosophy.I’d like to apply his principles to youth sports.
A youth sports coach who cares about developing individuals does so by:
- Teaching the why behind the what. When kids understand why they must do something a specific way on the field or court, it will help them learn to make better decisions and not have to be told every single move to make.
- Giving a clear target for players to aim at. Play for fun, yes, but give the kids something to shoot for, objectives that they can celebrate when achieved.
- Not overly punishing mistakes. Kids often learn enough from the natural consequences of mistakes in the game. I know that coaches often make kids run laps when they jump offsides or have some other infraction, and I suppose that philosophy has some merit with older players, but I also think it can be taken too far.
- Helping team members function in their strengths. A coach who can see the strengths of each team member and help them develop those strengths is a gem indeed.
- Sharing experiences with the team. Coaches that can take off the coaching hat and relate to the players outside the sport have an opportunity to share experiences with kids that have nothing to do with sports and that always leads to a stronger team unit. Does the team ever do something just to have fun together? Does the coach joke around with players outside of games and practices–or even inside of when it’s appropriate? Does the coach look for ways to relate to the players as kids and not as athletes?
If You’ve Found a Good Youth Sports Coach, Thank Him or Her!
When looking for a team for your child, do your homework to find out what kind of person the coach is. I think that parents often jump on board a team because it’s the team to join or because it’s the winning team, and pay little attention to the adult who will be spending hours with their child each week.
There are a lot of awesome youth sports coaches who are striving to develop the individual, and not just the skill. Don’t settle for less and if your child has one, be sure you say thanks!
As your child learns and grows in youth sports, is he or she having fun?
Are you letting him or her still be a kid?
If you struggle with how to strike the balance between letting your child be a kid and helping them grow up, I’ve got the answer!
This little ebook, for only $1.99 will be the best $2 you ever spent in youth sports!
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