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Monday, April 5, 2010

Are you an inspirational youth coach? 10 things to consider

Can anything be more important than having been a truly positive life influence on those with whom you interact?

In the context of sports, and particularly in the world of high-pressure youth sports, coaches have an opportunity—virtually every day—to create a lasting memory in the minds of the young athletes they are there to lead and teach.

Players—young and old—have responsibilities to take a lead in their own development, of course, if they are a serious athlete and expect to earn and keep a position on a highly competitive team. But you, as coach, have a huge influence.

Moreover, by your actions and behaviour every day, you determine what your legacy will be in the minds of those you coach.

You need only ask yourself: How do I want to be thought of—and remembered—20 years from now by those I coached?

Here are ten things to consider in determining whether you are the kind of coach and individual your players will look back on with fondness and respect. I believe this applies whether you coach them as 10 year-olds or as they are heading toward a possible future in the sport. Regardless, you should behave in a manner that will see them remember you as an inspiring presence in their lives:

1. Whether a player is a “star” on your team or someone who plays infrequently, does every player know they are important to the team?

2. Do you set joint—and mutual—expectations early on with your players, so there is less chance of misunderstanding later?

3. Are you always the adult in the relationship? Do you consistently model behaviour that you would be proud to see in your players?

4. How often do you say things in the heat of the moment that you can’t take back—and will never be forgotten by the young person you coach?

5. Do you take the time to find out what motivates each of your players, and what makes them love the sport/game they play?

6. Do you yell constantly about mistakes, or instead, create an environment where hard-working players aren’t afraid to try things and make mistakes in order to get better?

7. Do you help to build your players’ confidence, or do you do things to undermine it?
8. How much time do you spend getting to know your players as individuals?

9. Do you always have the answers, or are you open to ideas from your players? Will your players look back and say you were a great listener?

10. Are you consistent in your accountability system and your approach to discipline, or do you have a “star” system? Do certain players not face consequences?

By your actions, you are writing the script today for how those youngsters will remember you years down the road.

1 comment:

  1. Well done - I am going to share this with my son's baseball coach. He would benefit from your wisdom.