We always hear from athletes about the effect coaches have on them as athletes and as people. There is no other role in sports that matches the effect that coach has on an athlete, and understanding this effect is vital to coach.
The question is, How will athletes remember you as a coach?
The following tips provide some guidance for coaches to increase their chances of making the most impact possible in young athletes.
1. Be prepared:
You might think you're ready to coach, but are you really?
Training is not just about showing up and asking the athletes to run for an hour. As a coach, you must be prepared to conduct training sessions and matches that meet the needs of the athletes. If you are not asking yourself “What is the best thing I can do to help the athletes?” So, maybe you're not ready to coach right now.
Coaching teams in the midst of competition can be very emotional, and a good coach should be able to control their emotions. Being quiet under pressure is a vital skill that can be developed .However, remember that since you coach, you are a "leader", and people set you up as a role model.
2. Treat yourself as a coach:
- Ask yourself, “Why do I do coaching?”
- It is important to understand your personal coaching philosophy. This understanding allows you to be consistent in the way you approach coaching.
- Are you a coach who wants to develop the skills of young people and ensure that they enjoy participating in sports?
- Or are you the type of coach who just wants to win?
It's okay to be either though the type of team you should coach for may vary. If you're a coach who just wants to win, you might not be suited to coaching those who are under eight.
3. Meet the athletes:
Ask the athletes:
- Why do you practice this sport?
- What do you want to achieve this season?
You will likely be surprised by the answers, so listen carefully, and know that it's important to feel comfortable addressing the team's needs and goals.
If you provide coaching to a group of athletes who want to interact and have fun with their friends, but you are the type who wants to win no matter what, Know that you have a very long season ahead.
4. Get an official coaching accreditation:
This certification will equip you with the skills and confidence to enjoy the season and make a huge positive impact on your athletes, so join the National Coaching Accreditation Scheme to support coaching education and development, and contact your country's support association to get information regarding sports-specific courses.
5. Maintain your credentials and update your information:
Coaching is an ever-changing process. Therefore, It is essential that you keep your knowledge up-to-date by maintaining your accreditation and attending regular training courses that will help you develop your coaching style.
6. Read the code of conduct for your sport:
The specific sport you play must have developed a code of conduct for coaches. This Code of Conduct provides a set of guidelines that, if followed, will provide a safe and positive environment for athletes to participate in.
7. Familiarize yourself with your child protection responsibilities and everything related to it:
There is nothing more important than the safety of our children. Therefore, laws that protect children have been enacted through the Child and Society Protection Act, and you can refer to the laws in your country for more details.
8. Invite parents to participate in the coaching process:
It is important to involve parents in the coaching process from the start to increase the chance that they will help you throughout the season. They may help you during coaching sessions and match day, or they may simply support your positive philosophy.
Since the beginning:
- Encourage whatever form of help and support they are willing to provide.
- Call a meeting to explain your coaching philosophy and expectations for the season.
- Encourage parents to support this philosophy and expectations.
- Encourage them to encourage their children positively.
- Show your willingness to listen to their concerns and problems.
- Emphasize that their children's development is a team effort.
9. Be patient:
Whether you coach under-8s or under-21s, all coaches need to be too patient, as guiding a group of athletes through skill development is a challenge at best.
However, it can also be very rewarding, but if you feel your patience is running out, just stop, take a deep breath, rethink the situation, then continue or try another tactic, and keep calm.
If this problem continues, find an experienced coach who can give you some additional advice.
10. Respect the players, officials, coaches, and spectators:
Presenting sport successfully is a team effort. Trainers are general role models and should always be seen as respectful in their behavior towards players, spectators, officials, and other coaches.
11. Plan successfully:
Even the most seasoned coaches need planning. Planning increases the chance that the session will run smoothly and effectively, and it increases the chance that sessions will continue throughout the season.
12. Increase athletes' reaction:
If athletes want to improve, they have to exercise a lot.
Offering exercises and activities that involve small groups and lots of equipment helps athletes develop skills and strategies faster. Time spent in long lines is wasted.
13. Keep getting better:
Getting better as a coach is more than just attending courses and getting certified. Self-assessment is an essential skill that you must possess, so after your coaching sessions, ask yourself:
- What did you do well during the session?
- What can I improve?
- What did the coached athletes achieve?
The answers to these questions will lead you to make adjustments to your coaching style.
Also, consider receiving mentoring from an experienced mentor, and ask more experienced coaches to watch your sessions and provide feedback, as this will have a huge impact on your development and continually improving your performance.
14. Treat everyone equally:
If you've ever coached, you know that the difference in skill levels within your team can be huge. An inclusive coach is the coach who adapts and modifies activities and games to ensure that all athletes have the greatest opportunity to participate regardless of age, gender, disability, skill level, or ethnic background.
15. Set limits:
One of the biggest concerns with beginner coaches is that they won't be able to adjust their players in an open environment, so coaches must set limits for athletes to work within and not cross. If necessary, use field, arena, or coaching markings to mark the area in which you want the athletes to complete activities, and once you do this simple task, it will make controlling your coaching sessions much easier.
16. Watch and explain more:
Coaches like to talk; however, most of the time they just have to keep quiet and just watch what's going on, and let the athletes train.
What should you watch?
- Find ways to increase participation within the group.
- Is there a defect in the activity or technique that you have noticed through the difficulties that the athletes face?
- Does an athlete find it difficult and need your help?
- Do the athletes follow the instructions you give them, or do you need to re-explain?
There are also times when athletes need to focus on their training in peace and quiet.
- Remember that over 60% of any message comes from body language, so match your actions with your words. Whenever it is possible, express things rather than explain them.
When you're ready to explain a training, skill, or tactic, try displaying it rather than just talking about it. This shortens time and increases the chance for athletes to understand what is required of them.
- Keep your coaching points to a minimum. Athletes usually remember one to three points only, and everything you say after that is a waste of time.
- Remember to listen to the athletes while you coach. They can provide a huge amount of information about the level of effectiveness of coaching that you provide them with.
17. Serve the feedback using the “Sandwich approach”:
Feedback is an excellent way to learn and develop, and there are several ways to provide more effective feedback to athletes.
When providing feedback to athletes, use the “sandwich” approach of corrective feedback with positive feedback on both sides. For example, "This is a great body pose, make sure you extend your arm after throwing the ball, and keep up this great effort."
The athlete now has useful information and is satisfied with the efforts they are making.
18. Understand the risks:
It is essential that the coach provides a safe environment for athletes to train and compete in.
At the beginning of the session, check the area where you will be training, and look for anything that might cause harm, such as rocks, glass, unprotected goal posts, fences, etc. Make sure that the train sessions and the matches are safe with using protection equipment, such as legs and mouth guards, etc.
During the session, keep the area clear of cluttered equipment that players might trip on, learn the basics of first aid or rely on someone well versed in these matters. However, at least, make sure that basic first aid (including snow) is available for all training sessions and matches.
19. Know that you are providing a great service:
Coaching can be difficult at times. There may be moments when you want to withdraw because things are not going the way you would like them to.
Wait and remember that in spite of all this, if you follow the above steps, you will make a big, positive, and long-lasting effect on athletes.
In the end, when you look back on the season, you will find that the good moments far outweigh the bad ones.