Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Number ONE Job of Any Youth Sports Coach

Today I attended my 2nd grade son's youth football game. He plays for his school team and it is the first year he has ever played. I watched in disbelief today as one of the coaches from the opposing team screamed and yelled and berated his players (2nd GRADERS!!) for missing a tackle, or not lining up in the correct spot or not putting in enough "effort." He would send them out of the game immediately and bring in somebody else. This guy would give Bob Knight a run for his money and frankly I was stunned that the parents of these kids put up with this type of "coaching."

Having coached diving for more than 24 years, I have seen my share of yellers and screamers and while I do believe there is a time and a place for such "motivation" it certainly is not with 2nd graders who are just learning the sport!! This is the age where you teach kids the fundamentals of the sport. You get them excited to come out and play football or to dive or dance or do whatever. The NUMBER ONE JOB of any youth sports coach (in my humble opinion) is to make whatever sport it is you are coaching FUN so the kids want to come back again tomorrow, next week, next month or next season. You make them feel good about themselves and be proud of their accomplishments. Not only do the parents appreciate this, but the kids do too.

After the game was over, I went up and thanked all six of my son's coaches -- they really do a great job and he is lucky to have coaches who know the sport; teach the sport AND most importantly, make the game FUN AND ENJOYABLE. All the while, they are learning new skills and some valuable lessons about team work, hard work and life in general. I hope that all you diving coaches out there keep this in mind when you start your programs this Fall!

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