5 Tips for Coaching Youth Sports Teams - A Parent's Guide
A Parent's Guide To Coaching Youth Sports
Taking on the responsibility of coaching your child’s recreational sports team or youth, in general, can be quite exciting, but it can also cause a bit of anxiety.
Sure, it’s very rewarding to take your passion for a certain sport and share it with a team of young players who share the same passion, but along with the thrill and fun, there are some challenges that can occur.
Before embarking on such a coaching journey, take the time to become knowledgeable about possible challenges and expectations when it comes to being a youth coach. This way, you’ll be better able to discern whether this type of position resonates with you or if it’s better left up to another coach.
Tip #1: It’s a long-term commitment
When you say yes to coaching your child’s team, you make a firm commitment to coach the entire season. This means that you have to be there early for every practice and every game, as well as stay until all of the children have been picked up by their parents.
Keep in mind that there may be times when you are tired from work and simply don’t have the energy to go spend hours with a team of kids, but you will have to because you committed to being a coach. Is it possible? Absolutely, but do keep in mind that it’s a big commitment.
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Tip 2: You may have to contend with angry parents
When you sign on to be a coach, you not only have to contend with the attitudes and behaviors of the children, but also the parents. Unfortunately, there are sometimes moms and dads that get angry at the coach when their son or daughter is not getting the play time that they think he or she should.
They may also get jealous, hurl insults, and be explosive in the stands. Are you able to contend with irritated and angry parents without taking it personally? How about when they tell you flat-out that you’re a terrible coach?
When they scream insults at the referee? Or when they stand beside you or come in the dugout to “help” you coach, even though you don’t want the help? Are you prepared to politely tell them that you don’t want or need them? These are important aspects of coaching to think about before making a decision.
Tip 3: You must have patience
You know the times when your son or daughter doesn’t listen to you and you have to tell them to do something three or four times before they do it? By the fourth time you’re not politely asking him to do the task, but you’re frustrated and yelling.
Just think about having ten or more kids to coach, because chances are you’re going to have to repeat yourself with some of the kids as some won’t understand and some won’t be listening. Some may even have a poor attitude. In order to take on youth coaching, it’s important to clothe yourself with patience before getting out there with a bunch of youth. Not everyone learns at the same pace and that’s alright.
In fact, amazing Stanford University’s former tennis coach, Dick Gould, states that younger kids might not recognize their passion for a sport yet and lack focus, so it’s important to be a bit lenient and teach kids how to focus patiently.1 Take a deep breath and let the children see that you’re patient and compassionate and this way, they’ll be more apt to learn the game better and enjoy the experience.
Tip 4: It can be hard on your own kid
If you’re coaching your own child or children, be prepared for other children to give him or her flack at times. They may think that you’re giving him too much playing time or that you have him playing one of the better positions.
They may think that they should be playing more and be playing the best positions. This can cause dissension among teammates, so it’s important to be aware that this could occur and to have a discussion with the teammates if it does.
It’s also a good idea to keep yourself in check when it comes to playing time for all the children on the team and honestly evaluate if you are favoring your child over others.
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Tip 5: It requires continual learning
Keep in mind that you may be passionate about coaching a sport that perhaps you played in high school or college, but since then some things may have changed. You’ll have to keep up-to-date with rules and regulations for the sport that you’re coaching and continue to learn the best strategies to teach the children.
For example, if you played basketball ten years ago in high school, you probably had some great offensive and defensive strategies, but in the last ten years things may have changed and there may be even better strategies. It’s best if you take the time to review what’s going on in the sport these days to see if you can learn better offensive and defensive plays to teach the children.
If you’re not willing to put in the time, your team could be at a disadvantage.
Coaching your child’s sports team may sound very exciting, but before you make the decision to go for it, take these factors into consideration. Be sure that you’ve got the time and can make such a time-consuming commitment to coach. If so, go in with passion and optimism and remember to have some fun with your team. Coaching can be such a rewarding position, as you get to impact the youth and sometimes your positive influence they will remember throughout their lives.
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Baseball Brains helps would love to see you at our blog and in the comment sections of our many articles about coaching! Share your experiences, ask for advice, or simply encourage others to be involved. The world of youth sports can be an exciting and enriching one, as long as you're up for the great challenge!