Even a great youth sports coach can doubt themselves from time to time. They may worry they aren’t running their practices the right way, the players aren’t having fun or learning fundamental skills, or that one of the team parents thinks they can do a better job than the coach. Just like youth athletes need a little encouragement from time to time to help keep them motivated, some of your organization’s coaches might need a pat on the back or high-five to let them know they’re doing just fine.
Here are a few easy ways you can encourage and support your organization’s coaches:
Don’t let them get too hung up on the score.
A lot of coaches might evaluate their performance as a coach by how many points/runs/goals/etc. their team gets during any given game. Somehow, their team’s scoring capability is supposed to accurately reflect their skills as a coach; that’s not how a youth coach should grade themselves! Especially when working with really young players (think 5 and 6 year olds), scoring is really a by-product of teaching their team how to play the game and help them understand basic fundamentals. Of course scoring is important, but they should really be looking at how much fun their players are having and how their skills are developing throughout the season—all because of their coaching efforts.
Tell your coaches when you think they are doing a great job.
This is especially important if you have a lot of new or young coaches helping you out this season. Being the coach of a youth sports team is a big responsibility, and they might be second guessing themselves or having doubts about the way they run their practices. If you notice that one of your coaches is doing a great job keeping the kids engaged and excited, let them know! Encourage your seasoned coaches to compliment newer coaches if they like what they see. Everyone deserves a high-five for a job well done, even the coach.
Award great coaches each season.
The players shouldn’t be the only ones getting recognized for their improvement at the end of the season. If your sports organization hosts award ceremonies for your leagues, why not add a few extra coaching categories? You can have your sports parents and players nominate their team’s coaches (or even the coach of another team) for things like “Coach of the Year” or “Most Dedicated Coach” or any other number of things. These awards remind the coaches that their efforts to be a great youth sports coach have not gone unnoticed by their teams or your organization. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts!