Maybe it is not the kids, but the philosophy of coaching youth that is the problem. And, maybe coaches need to change their philosophy of coaching youth. Of course, it is not just an issue at the youth coaching levels, as professional coaches deal with the same things with the greatest players in the world. They all have the same question, "Why don't players care more and give 100% all the time?" When I played major league baseball it was the same, some players came to play every day and others did not, or at least gave the appearance of not playing their hardest.
I often hear similar things from youth coaches, alluding to the idea that kids have it easy now, and that their desire is lacking. "The players do not come to play," or "The kids have no heart" or "They don't take it serious, like we use to" are common coaching statements that refer to kids lacking desire and giving less than their all.
My first thought after hearing such accusations goes unspoken, but to me it sounds as if their philosophy of coaching youth is the problem, not the players. Realistically, most teams consist of a couple of players that give maximum effort, and many players, who give less than 100% of maximum effort, and give off a less than serious attitude, when it comes to playing and trying. A big part of coaching is trying to turn players, who have less desire and give less than maximum effort, into giving more, even if it does not come up to the "all in" level.
Coaches should go into coaching knowing they will encounter many players that have a casual attitude and that is the challenge of coaching youth. That is the challenge good coaches accept; they find ways to bring out desire, attitude, and effort in players. Age of players and the degree of commitment expected for the level played is always a consideration, but a good philosophy of coaching youth is for coaches to challenge themselves to see how many of those less than maximum players they can turn into the 100% group. Turning just a player or two into the one hundred percent in-group is a great accomplishment and justification for staying with being a coach.
Getting players to buy into giving their all is not easy but the following suggestions give coaches that fighting chance.
Finally, good coaches make a point of getting to know players interests beyond the sport, when possible. Coaches, who let kids know that they realize there is more to life than just what they give on the playing fields, have the best philosophy of coaching 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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