The Fine Line in Communicating With Players

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck:

Depending on the age of child you are coaching, and the situation, there are times that even youth volunteer coaches need to get tough. Your job is to teach, and this can’t be accomplished if you never utter a stern word. A coach can be too easy on his players, even the little guys, and soon practices and games are not so much instructional, but babysitting. As a Board Member in my local Little League I get to read the coaches evaluations sent in by parents after the season, and every year we get some parents who complain that the coach wasn’t tough enough on his players, and didn’t get enough out of them. We all know that there are some players who don’t have the physical skills to enable them to perform at a superior level, but every player can pay attention, learn, improve, work hard and hustle. And at the very least, it is important they not be a distraction to those who do want to get better. Coaches who do nothing but praise and say, “Good try!” will get very little out of their players, just as parents who never discipline will get nothing but disobedience. Some coaches are uneasy about talking sternly to someone else’s child. But as long as you are not mean, and try to point out more things a player has done right than wrong, you’ll get your message across yet still keep your players excited about being on your team.

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