There seems to be two types of coaches involved in youth sports. Those who are genuinely there to help young athletes and those who are involved to support their fragile ego.
Chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s likely you’ve come across both types of coaches:
- Genuinely care about the athletes as a whole
- Understand athletes may have other commitments eg. other sports, music lessons, family events etc.
- Utilise positive reinforcement (eg. encouragement, reinforce success)
- Give the athlete credit for their hard work, success and accomplishments
- Take responsibility for failures/mistakes
- Seek out better/more experienced coaches to learn from
- Are happy when athletes progress to a level beyond the coach’s expertise and help them transition to the next coach
- Care about winning only
- Pressure athletes to give up other sporting activities/hobbies/events to concentrate on training/competition
- Utilise negative reinforcement (eg. highlight mistakes, shout abuse)
- Take the credit for good results
- Blame athletes for failures/mistakes
- Are threatened by better/more experienced coaches
- Question athlete’s loyalty when they seek out more experienced/knowledgeable coaches to help them progress
In my experience Self-less coaches create positive experiences for young athletes, which tends to reduce drop out, increase enjoyment/love for the sport and in all likelihood increases the potential for success in the sport.
In contrast Selfish coaches tend to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of young athletes, potentially turning them off the sport or even physical activity as a whole. In all likelihood, unless the athlete is moved on from that coach the long term likelihood of success in the long run must be reduced compared to a self-less coach.
So the question is – which one are you? If you’re a selfish coach, please do us all a favour and do one of the following:
- stop coaching
Honestly, you’re doing more harm than help.
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