Career Coaching Tips that Work
Maybe the best career-coaching tip I pass on to youth coaches is that games are players’ time to shine and practice the coach’s time to shine. Many, if not most coaches, do the opposite with little or selective coaching during practices and then attempting to “steal the show,” with their antics in front of the crowd during games.
I have spent my post major league playing days coaching baseball and softball to youth players. The second-most-important career coaching tip I have learned and also tell other coaches is never stop learning. Learning the fundamentals and strategies of the sport, along with how to work with athletes to bring out their best, is a never-ending process. Right when I feel like I know everything about hitting, fielding or coaching, something comes along that wakes me up to the reality that there is so much more to learn. The same goes for working with kids, coaches, and parents. Right when I believe I have dealt with every type of person or situation, some new challenge presents itself.
Unfortunately, many youth coaches are unwilling to learn from others and choose the “My way or the highway” approach. For some reason, they believe they know it all and are not open to new ideas. Often, this type coach alienates youth athletes to the point where they no longer wish to keep playing.
A third career coaching tip I have learned is that it is the simple, practical things that make things fun for kids. The little things coaches do to show young athletes that they care is what is most important. It is the caring from adults, coaches and parents, which makes sports fun for youth. The good news is that usually, happy children lead to happy parents.
Along with knowing when to coach, a constant willingness to learn and to care to help kids, here are other career coaching tips for youth coaches. Many of these tips seem very practical but, once again, it is the little things make a difference and a great coach.
Proven Career Coaching Tips
Whenever possible, coaches should:
- Acknowledge players by name
- Distribute time equally to all team members in practice
- Look for signs of improvement in all players, no matter how small, and point those out to individual, team, and player’s parents.
- Put players in situations where they have a good chance of succeeding
- Teach players who are sitting on the bench, too
- Reward players who display effort, dedication, and attention
- Challenge players according to their ability level
- Learn to recognize the difference between effort and results and physical and mental errors. Praise effort and have understanding of results, and always help players learn from mistakes.
- Realize that no player, who wants to work at it, is beyond hope and the coach’s help
- Provide constructive criticism of a player’s actions and not criticism of a player’s character
Allow me to repeat, games are players’ time to shine and practice the coach’s time to shine.