These youth sport coaching tips are good guidelines
- Always remember that kids are not mini-adults and that they have different needs than do high school and college athletes. Youth programs often times forget this and do not make any modifications to make their programs age-appropriate.
- Make practice fun! Remember, kids are there to have fun and learn.
- Winning is a low priority for most kids. Keep practice enjoyable and don’t take yourself too seriously!
- Include lots of games. Young kids have short attention spans and will get easily bored by repetitive practice drills. Include a lot of games in your practice plan that will work on skills and at the same time be fun. The games do not have to have a winner and a loser. In fact, this might take the fun out of the game.
- Emphasize what the kids do right. Success has long been defined by the final score. That leaves the kids on the lower scoring end feeling unsuccessful when in fact they may have played the greatest game of their lives. Help kids redefine success as improvement, and emphasize what they do right instead of constantly reminding them of what they do wrong.
- Redefine success as making progress, improving skills, and playing to the best of one’s ability instead of just having the winning score. This is important in youth sports because so many kids can become discouraged and quit if they are always on the losing end and see this as failure.