Updated Sunday July 10, 2016 by Ben Craigo.
Coaching is less about what you coach and more about how you coach. Here are some tips to help you keep the trainings/games flowing, make things fun and keep them learning.
- Avoid the 3 L's - No laps, lectures or lines. All activities should be game related and they will build up their endurance through training. Talk less, not more, with only about 10% of the training session of you talking. Long lines of kids are no good. Keep wait lines of three or less - keep the flow moving.
- Face the sun. If your players are facing the sun when you're talking to them, they're going to be more preoccupied with how bright it is vs. what your saying. Make sure their backs are do the sun when you bring them in for a quick talk.
- Get there early. Getting their at least 5-10 minutes early allows you to prepare and be ready to go by the time your players show up from practices/games.
- Start on time. Start your training at the allotted time. It can be tempting to wait until every player rolls in. If parents come late, and things haven't started yet, there's no incentive to be their earlier.
- Perfection is not required. It takes time for kids to learn a new skill and longer to learn concepts. You don't have to keep doing an activity till they get it right. Or even close. These skills, concepts, tactics, etc. will be revisited often over a season and over years. They'll get there. Be patient.
- In fact, mistakes are OK...even required. Kids should be given the green light to mess up. Any time we're trying something new we make mistakes. Mistakes are learning opportunities...coachable moments waiting to happen. Let the kids know it's OK.
- Keep a good flow in practices. Try to keep breaks or pauses short and get them going again.
- No yelling. Keep it positive.
- Watch body language. Turning away from a bad play, hanging your head and throwing up your arms are all just as bad as yelling.
- Coach during breaks in the action. When doing an activity, give a brief explanation and let them at it. Let it go for a minute or two and pause it. You might see 10 things they're not doing well, but pick one and tell them to try doing that piece better and then let them go.
- Have a "sure thing" activity just in case. Practice activities do not always go as planned. If you find you're talking too much, or things aren't clicking, just pull out an activity you know they'll like to keep things moving.