One of the most important topics for professional coaches is the concept of coaching best practices. Best practices can best be defined as techniques and methods used by a coach that are deemed to be practical and effective when applied to specific coaching situations and engagements. So, to describe what best practices you should use in you professional coaching business, we will look at the best practices of unpaid, untrained, and unprofessional coaches – the youth sports coach.
Coaching Best Practices for Youth Sports
If you have never coached a youth sports team, you might think this connection is a bit tenuous at best. However, if you have stepped out on the baseball field or the basketball court or the soccer field with a clipboard, a whistle, and plenty of trepidation, you certainly understand how this connection can be made. Coaching youth sports is not easy and it takes plenty of coaching best practices. Here are the top five for dedicated youth sports coaches.
- Communication. There can be no coaching without communicating. If you think communicating with an adult who has walked into your office is difficult, try coaching a ten-year old boy who’s parents made him sign up for soccer. In the youth sports world, you need to be able to effectively communicate with parents and children – two different communication skills sets are needed. There is a reason communication is at the top of the list of coaching best practices – you cannot be a coach of any type without it!
- Patience. It can be difficult to work with a client for several months and not see results, but that frustration pales in comparison to what you feel when you coach youth sports. It may take Little Johnny an entire season to learn a position or a play – without patience you will never experience the joy of success, in both youth sports and professional coaching.
- Knowledge. No matter what you coach – little league baseball players or multinational executives – a little knowledge goes a long way. It is undoubtedly advantageous to have played a sport before you try to coach it, or to have been in an executive position before you start coaching executives, but it is not an absolute necessity. Both experience and education are knowledge – if you don’t have the experience, get the knowledge. First-time youth sports coaches will improve their skills by reading about their sport, gathering information on coaching a particular age level, and talking to others who been coaches. Professional coaching require continuous education – gaining knowledge and updating your knowledge is vital to your success and an important coaching best practice.
- It is their success, not yours! Youth sports coaching requires much more telling than professional coaching. Life, career, executive, and wellness coaches have to be skilled at helping find their own path to success, and though youth coaches have to be more specific and instructive, it still pays big dividends to let Little Janie find her own way some times. The use of informative and insightful inquiry works not only with professionals who have hired you to be their life coach, it also works with twelve-year old female softball players.
- Establish an infrastructure for success. No coaching best practices list would be complete without this one. Infrastructure has a different meaning for youth sports coaches and professional coaches. For youth sports coaches it means you come prepared, create a plan for practice or games, have responsibilities for both parents and kids, and make sure to have all your tools – whistle, clipboard, practice gear, and more. For professional coaches, infrastructure includes both the way you run the business part of your practice and the manner in which you conduct your coaching sessions. Basically it means – have a plan, know your plan, have the right tools for your plan, and implement your plan!
There are five crucial coaching best practices that work for youth sports coaches, and guess what, they also work for professional coaches as well. Defining your coaching best practices before you begin a youth sports season or before you start your coaching practice is a great way to start the season…or your career!
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