Judge The Coach On The Journey
Too often I hear parents ranting about their child’s coach and if there is one thing I’ve learnt is not to judge and not to believe everything I’m told. One thing is for sure, adults get into coaching in kids football (sport) to help the team in question. Many enter with the right intentions, to try and improve the players they’re working with. The ones that choke under pressure are thinking about living up to the expectations of everybody else, instead of just doing their job the best they can.
“Parents, coaches and players should realise that they are all on the same team. Enjoyment and success can be assured if this is a harmonious 3-way partnership. When all three are working together for the benefit of the player and his development, there is a much greater chance that this young talent will reach his full potential”. – Horst Wein
I’ve also learnt that winning is not the be-all and end-all of everything you do. I would much rather see my team playing a beautiful brand of football and lose, than play horribly and win. That might see strange to most, but it’s true. I focus on performance, effort and most importantly the journey to get where we want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love to win but, I coach my players to be successful and to do their best every-time they play. That is what success is, doing your best each and every time. This is under the control of the players with guidance from the coach. The very best coaches, do not coach the sport, they coach the child, they are able to connect with everyone and know that everyone is different.
“Those who are quickest to judge are often in possession of the fewest facts”
So what I’m saying is, judge the coach on how he’s teams plays, judge him on how well he/she prepares the team. Does he/she mentor the kids, is he/she a good role model. If he/she has improved the players both technically and personally, what more can you ask for. Parents (not all) put huge demands on voluntary coaches. Let us not forget these coaches don’t get paid for what they do. They give you their personal time to coach your child and in many cases they have children of their own – but they devote time to yours. Which in turn leaves less time for their own children (I’m speaking from experience).
Parents need to look at what these coaches do, how much effort they put into helping other peoples children. Without them we would not have a game, so don’t be quick to judge them. As a parent, once you are confident that your child is in a safe learning environment, one of the most important things you can do as a parent of a young player is to let them go and let their sports experience belong to them. Release them into taking control of that experience and allow his/her efforts belong to them. What ever success they achieve will be as a result of their hard-work. If you control everything your child does, they will never take responsibility. The worst thing you can do is compare what you want from your child experience with what they want. You can be sure that children do not have the same reason for playing as you might do. Children don’t value winning as much as adults do. Get them involved, allow them to take control, be supportive and back off.
“You can’t give 110%, you can only give what you have and you only have 100%”
The problem with success in kids sport is that, the more you succeed the higher the expectations. As soon as you win something, everyone expects the same next year and when you don’t win it again, you’re deemed unsuccessful and people start to cast an opinion of what you’re doing. In some ways you’re better off coming just close, people tend to be less judgemental and they might even say “wait until next year”, ” you did great”. The higher the achieving team the more critical people are. The more they seem to know, then you.
I’ll refer back to the journey process. Life is a journey and we make some great decision and some wrong ones along the way. In life people tell you to ‘keep going and don’t look back’ but can the same be said for coaching in youth sport?
Don’t micro manage every single game, judge the coach on the entire season. If the kids are improving and having fun and if the coach is fair to everyone and has the best intentions of all the players. That is success, what more can you ask. There will be time during the season that he/she will make a wrong decision but that’s how we learn. Things don’t always work out. It’s also true in life.
“Don’t be over concerned what people think about you. Be concerned with what you think about yourself”
If we focus on the process (what you are doing) and less on the losing and winning, we are able to develop much more. If you are too competitive, then you are over worried about the final score. Development of a child in sport is a long journey, the process must be short steps to mastering the game. A successful (journey) one is where your real accomplishments lie is keeping the child in sport and loving the game.
That is why we must teach kids that ‘doing the best you were capable of doing is success’ that should be the message. Their best last week may not be the same as their best this week but if we focus on effort first then you will never lose.. You can never reach perfection but you can reach maximum effort through hard work, every-time.
“Children who are given control over their sport experience are more likely to enjoy the game more and stay playing for longer. They’re also found to embrace the process more rather than focus on the result. It can also allow them to focus longer on improving and develop an interest outside of training, where they will take upon themselves to work harder and get better (More success). This way children learn to value it because the game belongs to them not you”
The next time you think about criticising the coach, think about all he/she has done for your child. Your child probably won’t be the next supper star but who cares, he’s playing sport and there are a lot of benefits to playing sport in life. Think about how much this journey is worth in life lessons!!
Read Dan Abrahams LEARN, DEVELOP & IMPROVE
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