Youth Athletics: What to Look for in a Sports Coach
There was a time when the small town little league coach was a position of respect. Everyone knew who was doing the sports coaching, and no matter how the team was doing, the coach was still the good guy (or gal). But today’s youth sports coaches face a set of challenges unlike those of their predecessors. Today’s parents and students are more competitive and aggressive than ever before. And with more and more people claiming to be sports coaching “experts,” it can be hard to determine exactly who is best suited to teach your children about the value of team sports. Before sending your youngest family members out onto the field, court, pool or dugout, make sure that their team leader understands these essential sports coaching fundamentals
1. Winning is NOT everything. Okay, so it’s a game and there will inevitably be winners and losers. And any sports coaching enthusiast will attest to the fact that winning feels good. Does all of that mean it’s the most important part of playing the game? We need look no further than NBA basketball star LeBron James for an example of how winning isn’t everything. There are relationships to develop, friendships to forge, and leadership lessons to learn. All of which count much more than the final score.
2. All children are NOT created equal. Sports coaching means that you will encounter children who come from all different walks of life. There will be rich children and poor. Brilliant kids and those who aren’t quite as quick to catch on. Athletically gifted students and those that have never laced up a pair of cleats.
The truth of the matter here is that none of that matters. A good coach will be sensitive (now there’s a word that you don’t hear often in the sports world) to how each child responds to instruction and make the necessary adjustments in order to reach each and every child on the team. Youth sports coaching is all about teaching each child to genuinely love being active, while building core values.
3. Immediate fixes aren’t always long term solutions. Sports coaching is about much more than playing the game. When dealing with a group of individual personalities (and egos) there are bound to be disagreements and conflicts.
What happens when tension between players heats up? A good sports coach doesn’t just get in the middle, pull Johnny off of Joey, and call it fixed. True sports coaching goes beyond goals, home runs, and free throw shots. The key in these situations is not just to separate, but to teach life skills. Working to get to the bottom of the situation and teach the players how to deal with their emotions and those of others is all part of the youth sports coaching world. When you’re ready to let your little one take the field for the first time, do so with the assurance that your chosen sports coaching professional shares your beliefs and values.