Five signs of a good youth sports coach

We all know the benefits to children of participating in sport.

Taking part in team sports can lift a child’s self-esteem, improve their social skills and carries with it the obvious benefits to the health and fitness of a young person.

But a good coach can further enhance a child’s enjoyment of their chosen sport while breeding the qualities that will help them later in life.

Here are five signs that your child has a good coach leading their team.

1. Respect to officials and opposition

Yes, winning is great for team morale, but not at all costs. Officials are there to ensure that the laws of the game are properly carried out, while the opposition make it possible for a coach’s players to participate competitively against another team. Both deserve respect and competitive youth sport would not be possible without them. In the heat of battle and desire to win, players can react badly to perceived incorrect calls by the officials or infringements by the opposition. A coach should regularly remind her players of the importance of treating officials and opposition with respect, even in the face of injustice. Verbal abuse and violence on the field is in no way acceptable and instilling values of respect and humility will stand children in good stead for later life.

2. Treats players equally

Some players will be better than others – it’s a fact. But every child has the right to participate in youth sports at some level. Spending more time on the development of a team’s superior players is a sure-fire way to undermine the self-esteem of team-mates. Perceived favouritism is damaging to a child’s development and will not sit well with parents. Players should be treated equally when it comes to improving aspects of their game in training.

3. Safety first

A player’s welfare is of paramount importance. A high proportion of injuries among young people happen through sport and a coach must play an active role in prevention and treatment. A coach should ensure players are wearing the appropriate gear, run warm-up and cool down drills, prevent players participating when injured and make sure the laws of the game are respected.

4. Positivity, passion and encouragement

The importance of positivity on the part of a coach cannot be understated. Players are far more likely to flourish and enjoy sport if they feel that their coach is approachable. A coach’s mood can have a huge effect on team morale. Children should be able to look forward to training and matches knowing that they are working with a coach who is passionate about the sport and a player’s development on and off the field.

5. Friendly and approachable for parents

It is also important that parents feel they can approach a coach regarding their child’s role in the team. If a parent feels their child is being excluded, not being given enough game time or simply not enjoying themselves, they should be able to approach the team’s coach confident that they will be listened to. Being a coach is not just about organising training and matches, it’s also about keeping up the lines of communication with parents.


Image: By Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted in Football / Soccer, Hockey, Lacrosse, Parents, Rugby, Australian Sport, Basketball, Coaching, Cricket, Netball

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