7 Keys To being a Good Coach
Over the years I’ve watched many youth teams and I’ve seen a wide assortment of coaches with different personalities, coaching styles, and philosophies. It is great to see a team working together, learning the game and having fun, but in every season there are volunteer coaches, or sometimes paid, who just should not be coaching. We’ve all seen them.
Whether they have been arm bent into coaching or have volunteered they just do not mix well with creating a positive experience for kids.
I have a simple coaching philosophy for young youth teams. I believe that there are only a few main components to succeed to ensure the youth enjoy the experience, learn the game and will want to continue to play for years to come. There are many keys to coaching successfully but to get started on the right foot following these simple keys below. If you find yourself in a coaching role and any of these steps are missing, get it fixed.
1. MAKE IT FUN
As a coach, you must make the game fun while yet keeping it structured and disciplined! Joke with the kids and get to know them. Keep it light, organized and FUN! If kids lose the FUN of the sport they will not return. After a good practice, get ice cream or a treat of your choice and talk to them just get to know them.
2. BE A POSITIVE COACH
As coaches we always have to give criticism when instructing so kids know their areas to improve. When providing instruction (criticism) always add a positive note to it. When a player drops the ball give them the instruction, remind them what they need to do and throw in, “good effort” so they have some positive to go along with the negative. Never humiliate them in front of others and always keep your cool.
3. SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Sets realistic, age appropriate expectations for your team right on day one. Your communication with the parents of your team must be inclusive of the players, parents, and YOU the coach for the season. You will avoid many problems during the season if you are clear with your expectations and you “walk the talk” yourself. Keep them simple and clear, such as: arriving to practice on time, giving your best effort, and having a great attitude. This includes YOU the coach also.
4. YOU (the coach) ARE IN CHARGE
Explain to your team that they are there to learn the game and you're going to help them become better players. They MUST pay attention when you are talking or demonstrating drills and limit the goofing off. A warning or lap around the gym, if they don't respond to you, usually works. Avoid hollering, simply say “let do some running” out of the blue with a firm face and believe me they will catch on. Positive peer pressure will rise up.
5. DEVELOP CONFIDENCE
Good youth coaches develop players who BELIEVE in themselves as an individual and as a team. Don’t let a player hang their head down after a mistake or failure. Praise them for the effort and help them realize it is part of the game, the learning process. If a player is confident that his coach believes in them they will play with more confidence and have an “I CAN” attitude for years to come.
6. THE 4 R's OF RESPECT
Teach your team the 4 R's of RESPECT. RESPECT the game (including coaches and officials); RESPECT themselves (by the choices they make), RESPECT their teammates; and always RESPECT the opponent. Share this with parents in pre-season meeting and expect the same from them. They need to know and remember they are an example for their children. Anyone failing to honor the 4 R’s must be talked to. Remember as the coach you are a huge example, you MUST coach this by example.
7. KNOW YOUR GAME
We all know if we wait until we are experts of the game before we begin coaching we’ll never do it. However spend your time understanding the rules and how the game is played. You can be great working with kids but if you don’t know what you’re talking about it will soon show. So get the basics down, ask for help or find a knowledgeable assistant you can interact with.
Good luck with your game,
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