3 Myths of Coaching Youth Sports

Here is an article that I wrote that was just published in the Pembroke Mariner & Reporter:

 

3 Myths of Coaching Youth Sports

How to Coach Your Team to Success

 

Being a coach of a youth sports team puts you in a position to make an indelible impact on the children you are coaching.  This is true if you a good coach, or a poor coach.  Here are 3 myths in relation to coaching the young athletes you are lucky enough to be in charge of 2- 3x per week.

 

1.       The LOUDER the better!

Considering that young athletes are making nearly 2-3 decisions per second on the court or field – “helping” make those decisions from the side lines does not produce the affect we are often looking for.  Limiting situational teaching to controlled scrimmages (at the end of a practice) or during a dead ball situation will help the children you coach make an informed decision the next time around. 

 

Also keep in mind that depending on the age of the young athlete, conceptual ideas such as passing the ball are literally not on their little radar screens.  6-9 year olds, for example, are egocentric in nature so thoughts of giving up the coveted ball or puck will not happen until their developing brains have reasoned that scenario out.

 

2.       Using exercise as a punishment will teach them.

Never.  Kids play sports because they are fun.  Our role as coaches and mentors is to set them up for as much fun as possible in the hopes that they play again next year.  Young athletes will become adults.  The experiences they draw from their childhood will play a major role in whether or not they choose to be active or not later in life.  Being driven into the ground with exercise because of lack of performance or behavior should be avoided.  A monkey can make a child sweat.  It takes a coach to help them become better.

 

At the beginning of your practices make sure you take 3 minutes to lay out what the expectations are for practice including behavior.  Outline what you will be doing and what you expect.  Ask each athlete if they agree so there is no misunderstanding.

 

If a situation does arise, ask them if they remember the expectations they agreed to, tell them they need to adhere to those expectations and continue practice immediately.  If there is a second occurrence have the player sit in a designated spot and continue practice.  You will be amazed at how well this technique works.

 

3.       Correct technical mistakes as soon as possible.

Common sense tells us this is a true statement.  The fact is a young athlete possesses a brain and central nervous that is far and away smarter than we are.  A young athlete inherently knows when they do not perform a skill correctly…especially when we a.) Don’t give them an accurate demonstration of how the skill is supposed to look and b.) Have not taught them the correct way of doing it with set guidelines.

 

If you ask a young soccer player to dribble through a set of cones with no teaching of the skill or guidelines and the player does so – Praise and encourage them EVEN THOUGH it might not have looked the way you envisioned it in your head.   Doing so will avoid goal confusion and foster confident, creative players on your team.

 

What are your thougths on the subject?

I want to know!

~Coach Dave

 

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Comments

  1. Great article Dave. You’re spot on in every detail. Keep spreading the word.

    I’d like to make mention that it’s important for coaches to recognize and be aware that not all children learn in the same manner. There are three basic learning styles:

    1. Auditory – hearing the information
    2. Visual – seeing the information
    3. Kinesthetic-Tactile – touching, participation

    Most kids are a mixture of some or all of the different styles. However, if a coach only presents their information to the children in only one manner, two thirds of the group may not comprehend or fully understand what the coach is saying/doing. It’s not because they are not paying attention, it’s because the coach isn’t presenting the information in a style in which the child learns best.

    What’s worse is the coach then gets frustrated with those particular children who he/she deems are not paying attention and before you know it, he/she is talking to them in a frustrated tone of voice or tells them to do pushups, which you addressed s accurately in point number two.

    I love your article Dave and I love what you are doing. Keep up the amazing work. The world needs more people like you. You’re a great asset to children and coaches everywhere.

    David

  2. Thanks for your post. It makes a change to read an article that actually means something connected to football. I’ve made a note of your site details and will visit again.

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