Sports Psychology and Coaching: Lessons From a Youth Sports Coach

Working with athletes to improve their game requires the best sports psychology and coaching skills you have. It also requires lessons from a youth sports coach.

You’ve seen the youth coach – the dad who lugs around the bag of equipment to every
practice. Yes, those dads, the ones without fancy certifications, extensive knowledge, or years of training. They are not sports psychologists and coaching experts, but they have a few lessons to teach you.

These coaches are mere volunteers, but they have often gained experience coaching at the hardest levels. Sports psychology and coaching experts would be wise to learn from the lowly youth coach. Ever coach a group of eight-year old girls? Or twelve-year old boys? If you have, you wouldn’t be dismissing the ability of these coaches.

You would be placing them on a pedestal and admiring them for their patience, perseverance, and prowess.

What Can Youth Sports Coaches Teach Sports Psychology and Coaching Experts?

* Respect

* Discipline

* Fun

The 3 Lessons You Can Learn From a Youth Sports Coach

When you coach a bunch of kids, it’s all about respect. As a coach, you have to respect
the kids, many of whom are not in any way, shape, or form, athletes. But, they show up
at practice every time, they work hard, and they try to listen to your every word. That
demands respect. You must also get them to respect you. There is no set of instructions
that a coach can follow to get adolescent kids to respect you, but the first step is to give
them respect.

There’s your first lesson from a youth sports coach – everyone needs to be treated with
respect, from the nine-year old Little Leaguer who put his pants on backwards (yes – I
coached that kid) to the elite athlete. Give respect to get it!

When you coach a team of 10-year old boys, you cannot expect to discipline by yelling
obscenities at them and making them run wind sprints until they faint, as if you were
coaching an NFL team. You must instill discipline through various methods learned
through trial and error. What you learn as a youth coach is that each kid responds
differently to your disciplinary measures.

This is a lesson you can put to use in your sports psychology and coaching practice.
Treat your clients as individuals and instill discipline through creativity, inspiration, and motivation.  And, unlike with the kids, an occasional four letter word is allowed!

If you can stand the little girl crying in her mom’s arms because she doesn’t want to play
soccer, the boy who constantly wants to fight his teammates, or the parent who wants to
know why little Johnny doesn’t play shortstop more often, coaching young athletes is
fun. And it should definitely be fun for the kids.

Practice for a team of eight-year old girls has to be fun or no one is coming back to play
next year. In your sports psychology and coaching practice, fun will keep your clients
coming back for more. Of course, elite athletes are looking for training, discipline,
expertise, and some psychology to help them achieve, but fun is still a motivating factor.
Play an enjoyable game, design a creative role play scenario, crack a few jokes; whatever
gets your clients motivated, laughing, and referring you to others.

Your final lesson from a youth sports coach – mix in a little humor with your expertise
and knowledge. By learning lessons from someone who has coached every type of kid,
sports psychology and coaching experts can use this newly acquired knowledge to help
their elite athletes achieve their dreams.

Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!

Fred Philips
Business Coach
Writing Team, Coaches Training Blog Community

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Facebook comments:


  1. says

    You brought some memories of my youngest child. He was a volunteer soccer coach after he graduated from high school. He was so young at the time and yet he appreciated these children so much and trained them with love and discipline. I was so proud to see him enjoying this role. I was deeply involved in your great post, thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    “they show up at practice every time, they work hard, and they try to listen to your every word.”

    Great point! Too often we play favorites with our best players (even those that try to dodge the rules we set) and ignore the other kids (even those who never miss a practice) because they aren’t the team stars. Youth sports should reward dedication, not just talent.

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