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How To Become A Youth Coach

Youth Coach Coaching Youth Sports

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#1 hollad6636

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:09 AM

As the administrator of these forums, I often get emails from people asking how they can get into youth coaching. The truth sadly is that anyone can get into youth coaching. All local church leagues, YMCA leagues, I9 leagues, etc., are usually hurting for volunteer coaches, so all you really have to do is call up one of your local leagues and pass the background test.

The real question is how do you become a good youth coach? That is not such an easy question to answer. There are so many different philosophies about coaching youth sports and youth sports in general have become more and more about winning and developing little Markie into the next profession athlete, when in fact fewer than one percent of all youth sports participants will play professionally. I think we totally miss the boat on this one. We no longer approach youth sports from the standpoint of teaching our kids basic life skills but we focus on winning and getting our kid to the next level which is a select or travel team. It's also amazing to me how much money is thrown at youth sports by parents.What happened to teaching our kids about respect, character, how to take constructive criticism, taking responsibility for your actions and efforts, working as a team, and commitment?

So how do you become a good youth coach? I believe that learning as much about the game as you can is important. You will need to learn the finer points of teaching the skills of the sport that you want to coach. This is much easier today with all of the great website that are available, the local library will have many books on basic to advanced drills on various sports and their are thousands if not millions of videos available for purchase or to view on sites like youtube.com.

Even if you have a good understanding of how to teach the various skills that are required to play a certain sports I don't think that makes you a good coach. You need to learn how to organize your practices, how to discipline, convey to your team what is expectted of them and what is expected of yourself and everyone needs to be held to that standard.

There are many articles on our home page at y-coach.com that will help you outline your goals and philosophies and hopefully help you have a successful season.

I have included a few of my favorites below:

7 Good reasons to get your child involved in youth sports

Managing Playing Time

First Time Coach

Positive Youth Coaching

Principles of Youth Coaching

Youth Coaching Responsibility

I hope to hear from some of you other coaches on your ideas and philosophies on being a better coach.

TeamSnap!

#2 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:10 PM

Nice Article/Post.

I will add some thoughts as well (toward being a good coach - since sadly anyone can be a youth coach due to a lack of volunteers).

Time Management

To many coaches get caught up in the Jimmies and Joes on their team. Truth is in my limited experience (at ages 9 & Under) the differences in talent are all not that great, sure some teams have more talent but I feel that coaching is probably worth a 2 game swing in a 10 game season, 5-5 talent can go 7-3 with good coaching or 3-7 with poor coaching.

It really comes down to how you use your practice time, be efficient and work on the core skill that matter. You should be planing at least a 2 to 1 ratio of planning vs practice time. That means having Season Goals, Team Goals, Player Goals, Practice Goals, game goals, etc and using your practice time to move closer to those goals.

Eliminate standing around. For example running a basketball drill with 1 ball and 2 players involved and the rest of the team standing in line is not an efficient use of your time. Players get better with more reps, you should strive to maximize your reps during practice.

Have a Game Day Plan - Rotation Subs etc....what happens when QB Johnny gets the flu and doesn't make the game. Don't just focus on the glamor position (SS, QB, Point Guard). Understand what happens if any position needs to be filled.

Over Communicate - Set Expectations

Have a Parent/Player Meeting at the start of every season, explain your philosophies and expectations. Set boundaries and enforce them.

Never belittle or critizie a youth player for not "making a play" (Feel free to critize effort). Here is a though, if they are struggling it is one of 2 things.

1.) You have asked the player to do something they are physically or mentally unable to do.
2.) You, as the coach, have failed to communicate the skill clearly to the player in a matter they understand. You didn't teach it.

So in effect....all failures are your fault. Conversly all successes are due to your players :rolleyes: .

So how do you become a good youth coach? I believe that learning as much about the game as you can is important. You will need to learn the finer points of teaching the skills of the sport that you want to coach.

Even if you have a good understanding of how to teach the various skills that are required to play a certain sports I don't think that makes you a good coach. You need to learn how to organize your practices, how to discipline, convey to your team what is expectted of them and what is expected of yourself and everyone needs to be held to that standard.


It is important to learn as much about the game as you can....but focus on the core skills at the youth level and also you need to understand your limitations as a VOLUNTEER (not professional coach). Remember you are teaching kids....not adults. Only teach what you can.....don't install the local HS Spread Offense Football if you can't coach and/or if your kids can't execute it.

Why Do Kids play Sports????

Number 1 reason is to have fun...so remember to incorporate fun games in practice, give awards, throw an end of season party, etc. They are not there to go pro.

As Parents, what do we want our kids to get out of Sports????

1.) To Have Fun and get some exercise.
2.) To make life long friends (me too).
3.) To learn that hard work can overcome a lack of talent.

#3 is what I want all kids to learn that sucess in life will be determined by your level of effort. Don't be a "Victim". Don't make excuses...their Bigger/Faster/Older, etc. "He's a teacher's pet", "Their Family is loaded", "She's Smarter than me", "The boss doesn't like me", "If the suits upstairs ran the company better I wouldn't have been laid off", "She's too pretty/smart/rich for me".

There may be valid excuses for the "Bad" things that happen in your life but don't use them, just go back to work. We are all guilty of this thinking at times...I don't want my son to ever have a victim's mentallity. You determine your lot in life. For some kids it is easier to teach this on the Field rather than in the classroom.

#3 hollad6636

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 09:17 AM

RoyalFlush,

Thanks for adding your thoughts.

To many coaches get caught up in the Jimmies and Joes on their team. Truth is in my limited experience (at ages 9 & Under) the differences in talent are all not that great, sure some teams have more talent but I feel that coaching is probably worth a 2 game swing in a 10 game season, 5-5 talent can go 7-3 with good coaching or 3-7 with poor coaching.

It really comes down to how you use your practice time, be efficient and work on the core skill that matter. You should be planing at least a 2 to 1 ratio of planning vs practice time. That means having Season Goals, Team Goals, Player Goals, Practice Goals, game goals, etc and using your practice time to move closer to those goals.


This is spot on. Get over yourself. You could be the greatest most knowledgeable coach out there and if you don't have the talent you will have a difficult time winning and at the same time you could be the worst coach with great talent and win a lot of games.

I measure my success by how much improvement I see from players when we start to when we finish a season.

The other thing that I think that goes along with this is playing time. I have seen coaches ride a couple of players for all they are worth. Up by 25 late in the game with a bunch of seven year olds and still pooring it on with the two studs in the game instead of taking the opportunity to develop their other players or changing their substitution pattern in order to ensure a win. Why? Win or lose the game will be quickly forgotten before the day is over. I don't get it. It's not like your playing in a super bowl or NBA championship game. It's a game and thats it. Throughout the years I even had many parents who had a difficult time with this concept. They would get so caught in winning the game and would be upset if we lost and I didn't keep my studs in. I don't get it. I like to win but I think it feels a lot better to win when you stick to your principles.

#4 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:05 AM

Hollad,

I almost edited my post to say the same thing.

"Coach the worst player as hard as the best player" with the caveat as long as they are receptive to coaching. I don't waste too much time with the kids who are not receptive to coaching. I don't completely ignore them but I don't push them or punish the other players for their behavior by letting them monopolize my time.

In the situations you described above we should always be looking to get our weaker players touches. In Flag the games go fast sometimes and I always try and get every boy a carry. A few times it hasn't happened usually when we score quick and the other team is disorganized and takes too much time in and out of the huddle. Extreme example would be 4 possessions in the half (2 for each team) where we score in 1 play on each drive and attempt XP (4 totals plays) and I have 5 players.

In blowouts there has been a game or 2 where I have explained to one of my better players he would not be getting the ball cause we are going to attempt to get a weaker player a score by feeding him the ball 3 or 4 times in a half. They understand and if you have built a team are excited for their teammate to get a chance to shine.

For weaker players you should be actively looking for chances during the game to get them the ball in a situation where they have a chance to be successful. A mistake I have sometimes made is giving them the ball on an XP try. We ended 1 game tied because of this but I'm still okay with it and in the future will probably attempt to complete at least 1 XP before giving the weaker player the chance to score.

If there is 1 thing I can't stand it is having 1 player dominate the ball in Basketball/Football. It is just boring for the rest of the players and the fans in attendance. You see this a lot in Basketball where the coaches don't take the time to install any type of an offense. The other players don't get better and the parents begin to grumble especially when they see a team spreading the ball around getting open looks for weaker players etc.

In evaluating a season you have to step back and try and be as objective as you can about the talent of your players and just how much progress they made during the year.

#5 RoyalFlush18

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 10:21 AM

RoyalFlush,
Throughout the years I even had many parents who had a difficult time with this concept. They would get so caught in winning the game and would be upset if we lost and I didn't keep my studs in. I don't get it. I like to win but I think it feels a lot better to win when you stick to your principles.


I'll admit, I've been extremely blessed with the parents I've had to this point.

It is extremely important to over communicate you goals/philosophy with the families at the start of the season. I've been made fun of for my emails/talks at times for going in to way too much detail about a 7 Year Old's sport season but I've also had gratitude expressed from the same folks once they go to another team/coach who doesn't communicate expectations well.

Basically during the season I state we play to win but not at the expense of the kids. Players have a primary position they will learn to play, everyone plays an equal amount. If a game gets out of hand either way and a child has expressed a desire to try another position I will do my best to accommodate.

When we have played in a tourney I flat out state we will play to win (I also repeatably state that all the positions on the field are of equal importance in determining our success and this is not just talk, I honestly believe it). My families have been okay with it, probably because I try and set expectations then meet them. If the game gets out of hand I will attempt to spread the wealth a bit....but it doesn't always happen.

Point is you can absolutely be successful spreading playing time evenly if you have a plan. Playing everyone and playing to win games doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.