Paid coach, volunteer coach, spectator. Each of these roles in unique, yet all of them play a major role in a child’s development. Here are a few quick youth coaching tips to help bring your best attitude everytime you coach.
3 Quick Youth Coaching Tips
1) The Rule of 3 – If you say the same thing three times (“straight legs” “straight legs” “straight legs”), and the athlete does not make the correction, it is time for you to change your words as the coach. Athletes are typically not defiant. They are not trying to make an error, but your words may not be clicking in the athlete’s mind. Change your correction by using different words, focusing on a different problem, or using a different learning technique (audio, visual, kinetic)
2) Sandwich – Compliment, correction, compliment. Your athlete needs to hear you say something positive before hearing what they did wrong. Tacking on some extra encouragement completes the sandwich method of correction. (Sally, that was a great run. Next time, try to squeeze your legs super tight. I love the effort.)
3) But. Don’t. - Two words to avoid at all costs when coaching. Young athletes are visual and frequently convert your words into pictures. There is no visual for the word DON’T. So when you say “don’t bend your legs” when your athlete is attempting their skills again next time, they see “bend your legs”. BUT eliminates everything that comes in front of it. Even in the real world. He’s a great guy but I’m not interested. Athletes only remember what comes after the BUT.
One Extra Youth Coaching Tip
Positive reinforcement, while it may take a while to adjust your coaching style, can bring out the best in your athletes. Rewarding the behavior you are looking for allows your athletes to stay focused on what you are looking for.
Happy coaches make happy athletes! Hopefully these youth coaching tips will allow you to be the best coach you can be!