I think most parents are grateful for their kid’s coaches. It is not a great paying job (often no pay) and kids require an enormous amount of energy. Nonetheless, paid coaches and volunteers must still adhere to a code of professionalism when taking on this responsibility. Coaching is a position where you motivate as you teach. Coaching requires your voice, eye contact and body language to be clear. Coaches leave lifelong impressions on kids and is a very special relationship in a child’s life.
Coaches need to:
1. be a positive leader
2. be a motivator and a mediator
3. be a constant researcher (on performance and training)
4. be present and committed to specific goals for the entire team
5. always lead by example
Here is a list of 5 mistakes that many coaches make and suggestions to improve.
Mistake 1. Coaches often have a narrow focus on only winning the game.
Improvement – Instead, focus on improving the athletes’ skills each week and throughout the season. A big picture point of view will impact the whole character of the child. Small, consistent improvements amount to big gains at the end of a season.
Mistake 2. Coaches often have favorites on their team.
Improvement – Realize that winning is important, but do not be that coach that only develops a few key players. Find ways to cultivate each player on the team using game time, as well as practice. The goal is to produce great athletes over a season. In doing so, you are investing in future games and future seasons. You have to think about the big picture- the betterment of the sport and the responsibility you took on as a coach requires focus beyond one player or one game.
Mistake 3. Coaches often praise only the physical talents of players.
Improvements – There are so many desirable qualities that athletes need today to be successful. Rewarding an athlete for being physically gifted is great, but other commendable qualities include athletes that:
- know the playbook best
- have the best focus
- understand the rules of the game
- are the most helpful
- demonstrate leadership qualities
- demonstrate a good attitude and awesome character
Mistake 4: Coaches often give shallow advise to parents, “Have Bobby practice throwing the ball more so he can get it across the plate.”
Improvement: Give specific and thoughtful advise. Advise that offers developmental guidance. If you do not know how to advise a parent to help their child – do a little research (ask others, read, make calls) and then offer advise with a strategy. ” Bobby loves pitching, but he needs to develop his strength in order to get it across the plate for more than 1-2 innings. I think you should look into a strength training program, here are a few I found. This way, next season / or end of season he will have the ability to pitch 4 innings.
Mistake 5: Coaches often use exercise to punish or remove water breaks from practice to punish.
Improvement – Children often need to be ‘toughen-up.’ When dishing out laps, stairs, burpees, pushups – know when it ends up being counter productive. In other words, if it is only breaking down their athletic capabilities, not enhancing them the punishment is a waste of effort. It is a fine line – but kids are not Navy Seals- they do not need to be broken, in order to re-built. Kids need to first be BUILT! Water is a requirement not a privilege. As it is, kids are not getting 4-6 servings of 8 ounces of water before showing up for their practice. They are likely dehydrated to begin with – encourage and structure the water breaks. We all need more water and we want our children to build healthy habits which includes hydration.