Anthony Smith was an academic counselor at Berkeley High School in California for more than a decade. During his time at the school, he also spent time as a youth athletic coach for PAL & Parks and Recreation. Coaching youth sports isn't an easy endeavor and takes a lot of patience to be successful. Here are six tips for finding success as a youth sports coach.
1.When working with kids, you have to use positive reinforcement. Kids don’t respond well to negative criticism. It makes them less confident and more hesitant in their decisions on the field. When you use positive reinforcement the kids are more receptive and open-minded to feedback.
2.The key to youth athletics is the fundamentals. It is important to keep things simple when working with young players. Every sport has core skills that are needed for success and ensuring the players understand these skills is important not only for success but for the players’ overall development.
3.You need to customize your instruction to each individual child’s skill level. Once they have mastered the foundation of the sport, you can move onto more technical skills that will help them master their specific position. To keep the kids engaged both mentally and physically, they need to receive custom instruction.
4.As a coach for youth sports, you also have to be mindful of the parents. It is vital that you communicate your expectations to the parents of your players. From day one, you need to clearly communicate your intentions for the season and your expectations for the culture of the team to the parents. However, you don’t want to alienate the parents either, so it is important that you are approachable and that you keep an open mind.
5.You need to help your players have the right attitude and learn to react to challenges with the desire to work harder in order to overcome those challenges. As a coach, you have the opportunity to help frame how your players will think about failure and how they will deal with it throughout the rest of their lives.
6.If you happen to be coaching your child’s team, you have to be mindful of your relationship with them. You have to identify the strategies that work for you. This can be working one-on-one with your child, or having another coach be their primary instructor. You have to be able to identify the right approach for your child that will help them progress as a player, gain confidence, and have fun.
Coaching youth sports is a rewarding, but often times thankless job. With the right attitude and understanding of how to work with children, you can find enjoyment in the position. Anthony Smith Berkeley, California was a youth baseball, basketball, and track coach who helped his players excel both athletically as well as academically.