of Youth Coaching
– laps, lines and lectures – You would be
better served to play small sided high
intensity games that encourage fast play of
short duration than to make your players run
laps for conditioning. As adults we don’t
like standing in lines so why would our
children? Players come to practice to play
not sit and listen. Use the “30 second
Positive Attitude – be enthusiastic without
being intimidating. This doesn’t mean you
shouldn’t discipline your players, but don’t
discipline for mistakes when the player is
trying their best.
Be prepared – the younger they are, the more
organized you should be.
Activities need to be developmentally
appropriate and fun – small sided games,
work on skills and tactics.
Give clear instructions – short
demonstrations with short, clear
Simple to complex progression – never
underestimate a child’s ability.
Provide opportunities for decision making –
Use safe and appropriate spaces.
Be patient. – don’t push players beyond
limits in regards to practice.
Care more about the players as individuals
than for how athletically inclined they are.
Allow time for just playing the game.
Be the first to demonstrate good
sportsmanship – Honor the game. Respect the
rules, opponents, officials and traditions
of the game. Keep a low profile during the
game and allow the kids to be the center of
Understand the different
youth of different age groups.
Have a team meeting before the season starts
and lay down the team rules and explain your
coaching philosophy and goals. Advise
parents at that time that there will be no
discussion of coaching philosophy later in
the season so they should decide now if they
want their child to play on your team. It's
OK, for parents to disagree with your
philosophy, but they should do it before the
season starts and move their child somewhere
Get parents involved at practice. This will
help the player feel more comfortable when
trying something new. Remind the parents
that during games they should try to remain
quiet and not yell out instructions as this
will only confuse the players.
Be approachable – Listen to your players and
parents. Keep an open mind and never
retaliate against a player because a parent
tells you they don’t agree with your game
time decisions or the their child’s playing
time. Think things over before getting back
to the parent. This will give you time to
review and decide on a solution and it will
give the parent time to calm down.
Provide opportunities for all your players -
It doesn't matter if your coaching 4 year
olds or ten year olds. Find ways to get all
of your players involved. Yes, you will
always have some natural athletes and some
kids who don't know a ball from a hole in
the ground, but lets get real, what are we
youth sports for. So the
coach can win or so the kids have
opportunities to develop. That 8 year old
with no skills may just develop into the
next star high school athlete if some
coach doesn't give up on him to
Keep notes during games – game time is not
the time to teach something new. It’s a time
to evaluate what your players have learned
and what skills need to be improved. Game
time is also a good time to learn from the
coach and team.
Lastly, but most importantly – manage your
time effectively – Keep things in
perspective and keep your priorities
straight – God, spouse, and family come
first. Having good, dependable assistant
coaches and a good team parent will take a
lot of pressure off of you.