Giving players a pat on the back for a good performance is the easiest way to get the most out of them. If players can tell they’re making progress, and that improvement is rewarded often and enthusiastically, they can’t wait to come to practice to get more of it. Be generous in your praise without overdoing it. Kids want to impress their coaches and it makes their day to hear you find something good they did.
When coaching a team with young players, especially if you’re rotating children into various different positions and you’re not keeping score, it is often difficult to determine if kids have been learning what you’ve been teaching. And remember, the best coach in the world can work with a team of six to nine year-olds, run the world’s best, most organized practices, and they will still make mistakes. It is probably not a reflection on your coaching if your team sometimes looks more like the Bad News Bears than the Chicago Cubs. But with patience, hard work and fun, you’ll see improvement from week to week and you’ll finish the year with a group of players and a season you’ll always remember with fondness.