Reminding yourself why you are a youth sports coach

You want your sports team to be a success and you love coaching them but if you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall then you might need some fresh concepts and new approaches to get back on track. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and too often we become results-driven and forget why we felt passionate about something, to begin with. Coaching and mentoring children is a privilege with some incredibly unique opportunities. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your team dressed in their Junior Football Kits or kit of their sport, such as the ones you can find at kitking and working hard together as a team. Here are some handy hints for getting your youth team’s mojo back if they’ve suffered a few defeats recently:

Stick to the fundamentals

You are still dealing with kids at the end of the day so try not to bombard them with overly complicated tactics or vocabulary that they simply won’t understand. Instead of introducing complex strategies, just stick to a few basic rules that the children can master every time they play. Keeping it simple and consistent will mean they improve without a ton of pressure and you’ll begin to see the benefits in their performance. Think about using a variety of methods to demonstrate different aspects of the game.

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Stay Positive

Don’t lose sight of the fact that sport should be about health, fitness, and enjoyment primarily. Unless you’re coaching an Olympic hopeful, don’t get stuck in a cycle of negativity and reproaches. Too many give up on things because they’ve been scolded or received bad feedback so don’t think they’re any good. Try positive reinforcement as a way to encourage their efforts even though it can be incredibly frustrating at times. Constructive feedback is much more effective in growing confidence and self-worth, which is ultimately what you want to see from your players on the field.

Parent Communication

As a team coach, you’ll be dealing as much with your parents as you will with the children. Clear communication early on is key, as is letting everyone know your expectations and plans for the season. Don’t be unapproachable and share your contact details. It’s also a good idea to be available for chats after training sessions. Be prepared to hear feedback on your own performance but don’t be bullied. Many parents will criticize your decisions and actions but are unwilling to coach or give the time to help out themselves. Try to keep a thick skin and an open mind!

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Importance of Resilience

Helping to teach youngsters about failure and resilience is a very important life lesson. How much resilience a person has will affect how successful they are in later life and as a coach, you are in a unique position to help frame this future thinking. The right attitude, a desire to improve and the grit and determination to overcome challenges are the most important aspects of youth coaching, not how many games you win. Remember that achievement only feels truly special if it’s taken some effort to get there.

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