In the world of youth sports, you will come across a huge variety of coaching styles. You will have coaches who don’t seem to know what they’re doing, coaches who know the sport but don’t know how to teach it to kids, coaches who only care about winning and coaches who don’t care enough about winning.
Most of the time, you don’t have much to say about who your child’s coach is. That means you have to adapt to the coach you’ve been given.
When you’re able to choose a coach, or even if you step in to coach your child’s team yourself, look for the 9 traits that are listed below. These are what make for an outstanding youth coach. If your child’s coach has them, it will likely be a great season.
- Has a positive attitude; doesn’t dwell on the negative.
- Doesn’t belittle the team for losing.
- Takes the blame when the team doesn’t perform and looks for ways to help the team improve.
- Points out the small victories, even when the team loses.
- Is an advocate for the team. (e.g. Discussing calls with the ref.)
- Always wants to learn, always looks for ways to improve his/her own abilities as a coach.
- Wants to win but not more than he/she wants the players to have a good team experience.
- Sees the bigger picture of how sports can build character.
- Loves kids – as well as the game – and wants them to have a great experience.
Your children’s coach can make or break their experience in youth sports. My daughter loved basketball until her sophomore year in high school, then had a coach who dampened her passion. She kept playing, but basketball was never the same.
Look for good coaches, fight for good coaches, and when your child has one, let him or her know how much you appreciate them – whether or not you agree with their style or game strategy.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.