The reason that more adults are coaching youth athletes and sport is because they are generally better at it. Adult’s are more likely to possess the knowledge and experience required to develop young players. They are also socially and emotionally mature enough for coaching youth sports effectively. Youth sports coaches use their skill set to:
- Design training sessions that develop individual techniques and physical literacy.
- Offer individual athletes technical and tactical feedback to improve performance during training and matches.
- Manage youth athletes during practice and competition.
- Have a positive influence on the social and emotional development of the young athlete.
The best youth coaches will find unique and creative ways of coaching. They give athletes a positive and rich learning environment.
Opportunities for learning from coaching youth athletes
Coaching youth athletes is also a fantastic opportunity for learning. Under the right circumstances young sports performers will often teach you different ways of doing things. Children view the world differently from adults and therefore will offer a wide variety of solutions to any given sporting challenge. Youth sports and fitness coaches must allow young people to develop their sports specific problem solving skills. More often than not a young athlete will surprise you with their performance. Adult coaches can fall into a sense of false security that they know best. This is true most of the time but sports performance is more complex than that. Every session coaching youth athletes is a genuine learning opportunity for even the most experienced of youth trainers.
Our top 5 tips for coaching youth athletes
- Base athlete knowledge on evidence rather than assumptions. An example of this is stereotyping athletes based upon assumptions and sports specific dogma when choosing an athletes playing position. How will you know who you best goal kicker is if you haven’t given every player an opportunity to kick?
- Build up an evidence database of young athletes. Profiling the strengths and weaknesses of an athlete takes time. Do not base your opinions on one or two attempts – young athletes may need time to show what their real capabilities are.
- Be creative with your style and delivery. We all know that sessions must be challenging and fun, and developing a wide variety of different practices will give young athletes the richest learning experience. Try not to be that coach who simply repeats how they were coached.
- Reflect and evolve. If things do not work it’s ok. In fact mistakes lead to evolution in coaching and therefore provide rich learning opportunities.
- There is no place for the hairdryer! When it comes to coaching youth athletes there really is NO place for an old school drilling when performance is sub par. Coaching with a negative approach breeds the wrong type of motivation in young people. Youth athlete’s must play with freedom and without fear.
NK Fitness are a leading provider of youth conditioning, fitness and coaching. We work with talented young sports performers as well as young people wanting to be more active. If you would like to discuss how we could help your child reach their athletic potential then please feel free to contact us here.