Whether you are a seasoned pro or a newbie, coaching youth teams is always a learning experience. Much like teaching, coaching is a trade that you can always improve on. Every year yields a different set of players, new personalities, and a new experience altogether. That being said, here are 5 tips that every coach can use, even if they've been in the coaching game for years and years.
1. Use more positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.
Punishing a team member teaches them what not to do, but rewarding them teaches them the right thing to do. If you expect your team members to continue growing and becoming better players, show them the right way rather than focus on the wrong way as much as you can.
2. Routine is good, but break the monotony ever once in a while.
Drills, exercises and other routine practices always improve skills, but monotony can induce boredom. The last thing you want is for your players to lose interest in the game, so spice up the practice sessions every once in a while by doing something different.
3. Always, always, always challenge your players.
Whether it's mentally or physically, your team members need to be challenged every practice and every game, and they need to succeed more than not. Being challenged and not making the cut is an inevitable learning experience, but being challenged and overcoming the odds is a rewarding experience like no other, and will teach your players to push themselves as far as they can go.
4. Mental attitude is just as important as physical ability.
The best sports players can make the worst mistakes simply because they didn't have the right frame of mind. Tending to your players' mental state is imperative in becoming a winning team. Confidence, trust, and a positive frame of mind will make even the weakest members of the team excel more than others.
5. Remember, it's just a game.
Every so often, every team loses. It's important that your team realizes that every game is important, but not life or death. These loses can do more damage than necessary to the team if the members aren't able to shake it off. There is always the next practice, next game, and next season.