Youth sports have come a long way over the years. As more and more children get involved in sports it is important to make it an enjoyable and learning experience for them.
As a coach it is important to be a positive role model. Use positive reinforcement, by doing this it gives children more confidence in themselves and makes them want to try harder, do better and improve. Keep things simple and age appropriate during practices and drills, etc. Do not make individual drills last long, have and do variety of them to keep children from getting bored and frustrated. Communicate with parents and the children as well, keep them informed of your “game plan” for the season and of changes as well. Communication is very important, so parents and children do not lose interest and gain frustration trying to figure out what the plan is.
Most importantly treat all children the same and teach them sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is very important to teach children, it raises them to be respectful adults and helps them with the ability to handle various situations without physical or confrontational results.
As a parent it is important to set a good example. Do not yell at referees, opposing team’s coach or coaches and most of all the children. Remember it is just a game.
Let children participate in the decision of which sport they want to play and when. Don’t live your own dream(s) through them. By letting them play the sport they want to it will be more fulfilling and more enjoyable to them.
Don’t use sports as a babysitter, be involved. Encourage them to strive to improve their own skills and not to compare themselves to others. This not only helps them improve their skills for that sport, but it can help them gain independence and confidence in themselves.
Keep abreast of the coach’s plan, practices, etc. Be sure that your child is being taught, treated with respect and that they are having fun. And most of all, as mentioned above emphasize sportsmanship!