Young athletes come with their own set of challenges. Coaching adults or even teenagers requires different methods and attitudes. Young athletes need a different approach from their coach.
A big tactic to have for young athletes is constant positive reinforcement. Young athletes are an emotional mess. The young athletes have unpredictable behavior, and mood swings like you have never seen. The pressure of looking good in front of their peers is overwhelming. Young athletes could be traumatized by a single correction from their coach in front of their friends. Be careful not to be harsh on the new athletes. Be sure to compliment young athletes when they have done something right. Positive reinforcement will help the relationship between you and your players. There needs to be a certain level of trust in a player-to-coach relationship. Positive Reinforcement is a great way to begin developing that trust.
Consider All Types Of Learners
Children learn differently. There are three types of learners. Visual learners, Auditory learners, and Kinesthetic learners. Each set of learners require a different approach to understand concept and material. Incorporate all types of learners when approaching your team with a new drill or developing a new skill. Getting frustrated with one type of learner that is not picking up the material is a waste of time and energy. Be understanding with your players and differ your approach in teaching them a new skill.
Consistency is key in any sport or activity that you are doing. We are creatures of habit, so making a habit with drills and plays will instill information into young athletes. A famous quote sums up consistency. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Practice the same play over and over again. Do not be afraid to execute the same drill one hundred times until the athletes get it right. Another quote by Bruce Lee is appropriate for consistency. “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” The more you practice one drill, the better. If one practice all you work on is footwork, don’t regard this as a failed practice but one where you honed in on one skill. Young athletes need consistency. The consistency will help them learn discipline and patience.