Why Your Players Shouldn’t “Look Up to You”

The first time you go out on the field with your new team can be a little unnerving if you’ve never coached before. You may be an important person in your community and a leader in business, but the prospect of facing a group of six year-old boys and girls has your mouth dry and your palms sweaty. The meeting you had with the CEO at lunch was a breeze, but this? This is intimidating.
The best advice I have for you when coaching small children is to make yourself small as well. When you talk to kids individually, or in team meetings, take a knee. Take two knees. You can even sit in a circle with your players so that you’re more like one of them. Too many coaches ignore this simple technique, consequently, their players always have the feeling they are being “talked down to”, instead of coached. The younger your players are, the more time you should spend on their level. As you know, most things are already kind of big and scary to kids this age. Do what you can to make the coach less big and scary, and they’ll listen, behave and perform better.
The best thing about this technique is how it benefits you. Because when you get down to your players’ level and begin to feel more closely connected with them, you see things from their perspective, and many of the barriers and fears you both may have had in the beginning disappear.

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