Let's face it, many youth coaches should not be coaching our youth. Most of them have a background in the sport they are coaching, but lack the interpersonal skills that influence youth in a positive way. Of course, this does not mean that coaches cannot become better or that they have to be experts to coach youth sports, but they should have some basic coaching skills to be positive role models.
High school, college, and professional coaches must have advanced knowledge of sport and should have more advanced coaching skills than volunteer youth coaches should. However, there are certain coaching skills that all coaches should strive to have, no matter the level they coach.Coaches, who can say yes to the following quiz questions can feel good about their coaching skills and should be coaching kids. Those, who cannot say yes to these, should work to change or leave coaching to others.
1. Do I allow open communication among coaches, players, parents, and league officials? Coaches, who have the "my way or the highway" approach should not be at the youth coaching level. Of course, there is a time and place for that communication and that should be understood by all, with the head coach having the right for final decisions.
2. Am I fair with the time I devote to each player when instructing, their playing time in games, and the positions they play? Fairness is usually the number one complaint from parents. Coaches who can be as objective and as fair as possible will be the positive influence all deserve.
3. Do I stay positive when things do not go our way? It is easy to be up and positive when things go well, but keeping the same attitude when things get tough is the key.
4. Do I display enthusiasmwhen teaching and for the sport? Many coaches begin with this enthusiasm and allow it to dissipate. Many of these once enthusiastic coaches turn negative or forget to continue teaching as the season progresses. Teams often take on the attitude of their coach and an unenthusiastic coach turns into an unenthusiastic team.
5. Do I look for opportunities to teach sportsmanship? This should be a consistent coaching philosophy with coaches always on the lookout for sportsmanship, or the lack of it, on their team, on other teams and in the news.
6. Do I emphasize teamwork? Maintaining an attitude that we win as a team and lose as a team is best. Encouraging team members to hang out together, even when not practicing or playing, creates strong bonds and good team chemistry.
7. Are kids comfortable being themselves around me? Fun is always a key - youth sport coaches, who do not allow kids to be themselves, should not be coaching.
8. Do I look for opportunities to build players' self-esteem? Nothing is more important in coaching, at any level, than this.
9. Do I have the proper perspective for the age of player and the level being played? This varies for every age and level so coaches must have the correct perspective. Of course, a win at all cost perspective is never acceptable, at any level.
10. Do I under coach or over coach? Under coaching is failing to teach all team members or withholding information for whatever reason. Over coaching is demanding things players are not ready for or yelling "what to do instructions" as the action occurs. Both of these are detrimental to helping kids, but are easy pitfalls for inexperienced coaches to fall in to.
Coaches, who score high on this coaching skills quiz, should continue to coach our youth.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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