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Coaching youth sports: A thread for Dawgnation parents.
This is a thread for Dawgnation parents of young kids.
1. Dawgnation members who have coached youth sports......please chime in with advice on both failures and successes.
2. Dawgnation parents with young kids or future kids please ask questions.
Please respect others opinions. This is an all sports thread. I know there are coaches on here from a number of different sports.
And this is for both girls and boys athletes.
I've not only coached HS football. I also coached travel/select baseball for over 15 years and am currently coaching HS softball. I've coached both boys and girls and I've coached teams with my kids on the team.....and teams that didn't have my kids on it.
I've made far more mistakes coaching youth sports than HS sports....and my most embarrassing and regretful moments in life are probably from coaching youth sports.
And unfortunately...I've had kids I coached leave the field crying because of me. And it happened a couple of times with both my son and daughter.
So I've learned as much from my mistakes as I have from successes.
Following is just a few of the things I've learned from my years of coaching youth sports.
Hopefully other coaches will add some advice as well.
1. Start kids early - start them early. Get kids involved at an early age.
2. "Force" them early on - this sounds much worse than intended. Kids don't really know if they like something unless they try it. Your 5 year old will almost certainly never ask you to play soccer....sign them up. And give it time. You will have to "force" them to attend an 8am, Saturday morning, soccer or t-ball game at the Y.
3. Give it time and help nurture it by throwing the baseball, kicking the soccer ball, hitting golf balls or helping with any sport they are involved in. If you want a kid to love something....play with them. Get off the phone or get off the couch. And mow the lawn later.... play with your kids.
4. Give it time....but be observant. No one knows your kid as much as you do. Don't give a particular sport one season....give it a chance to take. However, you'll eventually know what your son's/daughter's passion is....or could be. It may be soccer...or it may be dance. It may be baseball....or it may be music. It may be football.. or it may be art. Regardless.. love them and support their passion.
5. PLAY MULTIPLE SPORTS - if your child does love sports....get them involved in multiple sports for as long as possible. I know countless families that decided to go all volleyball at age 10. Daughter's were great athletes. Some got burned out.....some stopped growing at 5'6" - not exactly great for a volleyball player. Not picking on volleyball. It happens in all sports. Select sports are fine....been involved in them for years. But choose select coaches that support your kids playing multiple sports. College coaches are always asking my son what other sports he plays. It helps develop a well rounded athlete and helps prevent burn out.
6. Accept mistakes - kids have to be comfortable making mistakes and they have to develop a short memory. Don't be "Coach Obvious " ....why yell at a kid for letting a ball go between his legs? Guess what...they already know they made a mistake. If you want your son/daughter to develop into a clutch player....they can't be afraid to make a mistake. My dad would get on me for not hustling or playing hard.....but never for an error, strike out or other mistake. He made mistakes and knew I would as well.
7. You'll hear this a lot.... but most of you won't follow it. 24 hour rule. When you get in the car...leave the game alone. If your child wants to talk about it...let them. But leave your advice until tomorrow. They don't want to hear it. Many of you will fail at this....and that will be one of the biggest reason your child quits sports. I'm not suggesting that you not give them advice...the best athletes usually have involved parents. Just wait a day for the advice.
8. I'll say it one more time.....play with your child outside. Time goes by fast. Get off your phone and get them off video games.
I have a beautiful yard. I take pride in it. But for years I had two bare spots in my front yard. Because I played catch with my son almost every day between the ages of 5-8. And played catch with my daughter most days as well. That is one thing I did right. It's fun, you get to spend time talking to your child....and I credit that as much as anything for both of my kids excelling in sports.
Come on coaches....please contribute. I love learning from other coaches.
And parents please ask questions.