Performance Coaching Secrets

However, youth coaches must be careful when watching advanced level sport coaches. Professional and college coaches often display behavior that is for adult athletes. These coaches often scream, swear, and use negativity to coach and motivate players. Coaches at these advanced levels expect players to be mature enough to handle these performance coaching techniques.

Of course, all coaches are different and for every coach that teaches negatively, there are many that use a more positive approach. I am not here to debate the best method, although I obviously believe the positive approach is the best one for most athletes. However, I am here to state that the only way that should be employed at the youth sport level is the positive performance coaching way. What may work for adult and professional ball players is not meant for youth athletes.

To get the most out of youth athletes, positive performance coaching techniques are crucial to keep young players motivated and interested with continuing in sport. With that understanding, youth sport coaches must be careful they do not fall into the negative coaching trap, which is an easy one to fall into. The best way to avoid this trap is by being careful of what and how things are said. Following are negative statements that generally serve no purpose and only serve to demean players’ attitudes and effort.

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Coaching: What not to Say

(Listed from bad to worse)
1. Why did you do that?
2. What were you thinking out there?
3. Why didn’t you do what I told you to do?
4. You will never get anywhere doing that
5. When I was your age, I used to be able to …
6. You have to practice more
7. Look at me when I talk to you
8. I thought you wanted to play
9. You are embarrassing me
10. Do what I tell you or else
11. We might as well forfeit if that is how you are going to play
12. Forget it; you are not worth my time

Some of these may seem like legitimate questions but the emotional way and tone of voice they are said or asked, automatically turn kids off.

Following are what youth coaches could stay instead that have a positive bend, but still get the point across. Notice that by just adding a plural sense of “we” to most statements instead of “you,” can change the whole tone of the negative statements.

Performance Coaching words to use:

  1. We can do better
  2. Don’t think so much
  3. Remember what we worked on
  4. I know some ways we can practice that so it won’t happen again
  5. Here is how I use to practice that
  6. We will work on it together
  7. Watch this
  8. Focus and stay in the moment
  9. We are better than this
  10. Believe me, I know what works
  11. It’s never too late to improve
  12. I will never give up on you guys

Finally, studies show that the word “you” is the most empowering word there is – That may be but in team sports and for performance coaching, the word “we” empowers more.

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