October 14, 2008
Insist on Healthy Coaching for young athletes by Dennis O'Brien
Koach Karl brings you the final chapter of this interesting article on Coaching young athletes:
Here are some basic questions about coaches to explore while networking with other parents:
- Does the coach teach and praise the efforts the children are making, or does he criticize or even berate their performance?
- Is there a predictable and fair rotation of players so that every child knows he or she will participate in the team effort? The failure by coaches to nurture everyone on the squad will drive away a number of young athletes who are necessary for long-term team success. It may also ruin the sport for them. Kids need encouragement and playing time if they are to improve.
- Does the coach deal firmly and promptly with destructive parents, even if it means prohibiting them from attending practices or games? Protecting other parents and players from toxic parents is essential to preserve a healthy atmosphere.
- Does the coach communicate to his players that there is more to life than winning games? Coaches must understand that their primary responsibility is to teach impressionable youth values and skills, not to win contests.
After determining that a coach has healthy priorities and deciding to allow your child to participate, it is also important to back the coach by voicing support for these values and a developmental approach. Talk to other parents about your values and concerns at the outset of the season and continue to bring them up as occasions warrant. Hopefully, heightened awareness of what is at stake will motivate parents to take charge of their own situations before they turn destructive. Make sure the coaches know that you value a developmental approach and will support his coaching decisions and dealings with parents, which reinforce this.
Work with the coaches and other parents to establish rules like these for parents:
No displays of anger.
No negative comments.
No criticism of players, coaches or referees.
Cheer and encourage, but leave the coaching to the coaches. Insist that your player respect the other players, including teammates and those on opposing teams. Proactive parents with healthy values who work together can best insure that club sports remain a positive developmental experience for their children.
Check back next week for another great article on Youth Soccer Coaching from Koach Karl Dewazien.