The Making of a Good Coach part 3

      This will be the last segment to my 3 part serious of making a good coach. If you have not read my first to articles you can read them here, PART I and PART 2. Before I start with my 3rd and final article, I want to say that there are many aspects to being a good coach, however if we as coaches keep in mind what I have written down in these 3 articles instead of being a good coach we will become GREAT COACHES. So these articles should really be titled “The Makings of A GREAT COACH”.

      When coaching young athletes we are faced with many athletes who posses different personalities. In order to reach these young athletes we must first be able to recognize the different personalities that we will be faced with. After all, not all children will respond the same way to one style of coaching. If we are unable to communicate to all of the young athletes that we are coaching, we will not be able to effectively coach (teach) every child that is in front of us.  I have broken down the four most common personalities that we will be faced with as coaches.

      The first group of kids that we will most likely come across as coaches, are those children that are “HIGHLY SKILLED AND HIGHLY MOTIVATED” When dealing with these young athletes one word should come to mind “delegate”. These young athletes need to be a part of the decision making process. First demonstrate and explain the exercise selection. Opportunities to perfect technical proficiency as well as the rationale behind implementation may then be provided. Lastly, these athletes may then be included in the program development. By making these athletes part of the coaching process, they remain actively engaged and can serve as powerful motivators for other teammates. Ultimately, the goal of coaching is to get all athletes into this category.

      The second group of athletes, “HIGHLY MOTIVATED AND LOW SKILLED” needs to be “guided”. These athletes posses a will to succeed and most often work hard, however, they simply lack the technical skills needed to be successful in their chosen sport. We must work diligently with such athletes on technical skills, and match it with an eager disposition and equally energetic coaching style dedicated to fostering learning skill acquisition. Setting simple goals and pointing out successes along the way can be a powerful strategies in keeping spirits high and the will to persist strong.

       The third group of young athletes, “LOW MOTIVATED AND HIGH SKILL ATHLETES” this group is commonly called “lazy”. In my opinion these athletes just need to be “inspired”.  These athletes display above average skills and technical abilities. However, particularly when such skills are enjoyed at an early age, motivation may erode due to the fact that competition fails to pose much of a challenge. Motivating these athletes requires the ability to “inspire” these individuals to form personal goals and challenges, which may fall beyond the level of the competition. In a positive and uplifting manner the coach should challenge these young athletes to achieve more. However, the coach should maintain a high level of sensitivity to the source of the low motivation. Sometimes the source of the low motivation could be a simple result of “sport burnout”.

      The last group of athletes “LOW MOTIVATION AND LOW SKILLED ATHLETES” will respond best to a more personnel and purposeful direct approach of coaching. Usually shy, quiet, and lacking both confidence and ability, these athletes most often don’t like to be singled out in front of other athletes, but respond well to personal communication that other athletes do not necessarily hear. By directing questions, suggestions, and tasks to these athletes privately rather than publically, individuals within this category feel safe and not “on display” in front of the entire group.

A simple pat on the shoulder and a quiet “great job” in their ear would work best when congratulating these athletes.

      It has been said that coaching is equal part art and science. The science exists in the application of contemporary programs, and pedagogical theory that informs coaching behaviors based upon the unique skills and dispositions of young athletes. However, the art exists in the coach’s ability to connect with each athlete on a personal level, and motivate each and every individual to be his or her best. Too often when coaching young athletes, the value of the science is magnified when it is likely the art that will really lead to the most critical and longest lasting change.

      At Athletic Revolution Matthews, we not only provide your children with the most effective training programs, but we take it a step farther by building and developing relationships with each and every individual to insure optimal athletic potential while developing a life long love for physical activity.  

     Till next time, coach George

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