The Impact of a Great Coach in Youth Sports - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."

Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

Although some people still like to say that kids don't listen, the truth is that they're listening and observing all the time. They take their cues from adults in their lives and model their behavior based on what they see and hear. Although parents or guardians typically provide the biggest influence, teachers, coaches, and other mentors also play major roles in a child's life.

A bad coach can leave a lasting impression, but so can a great coach. When it comes to youth sports, it's about far more than just learning how to play a game. It's also about helping kids gain the skills they'll need for their life and career. Here's how a great coach can make a positive impact on kids' lives.

Helping to Create Good Habits

Getting involved with youth sports is great for kids, both mentally and physically. Coaches can help set the foundations for good habits like staying active, warming up and stretching, drinking water, and taking appropriate safety measures.

As kids get into the routine of these activities, they will become part of their lives and allow them to stay active safely. With the amount of screen time most kids have in their daily lives, encouraging active hobbies is essential for long-term health.

Building Confidence & Resilience

Good coaches should provide encouragement and support so kids can reach their full potential. We've all seen the impact of coaches who yell, bully, and otherwise intimidate their teams. This can have lasting harm and should never be a youth coach's approach.
However, the opposite is also true. Coaches who help young people build skills safely, celebrate their successes, and help them bounce back and learn from failure can help to create confident and resilient kids.

coach and teacher

Providing Supportive and Constructive Feedback

We all need to be able to listen to feedback and process it. Not all feedback is constructive or helpful, however, and getting harsh feedback can be harmful to a person's self-esteem, without helping them to grow or improve. A growth mindset, which is so important, can be made or broken by the type of feedback kids receive.

A great coach will provide constructive feedback that pushes young athletes to do their very best. Coaches who can make feedback inspiring will help kids build determination and a will to improve their skills. Constructive feedback can be empowering and encouraging, which can help kids tackle hard challenges in their lives with confidence.

Demonstrating Sportsmanship & Fostering Team Bonds

One of the biggest benefits of youth sports is the opportunity for kids to learn teamwork and good sportsmanship. A great coach will help young athletes learn that athletics is about more than just winning and losing. Strong relationships of different kinds are central to our lives and coaches can encourage kids to build bonds and social skills during practice and games.

Good sportsmanship is about more than just congratulating the winner if your team loses or being a gracious winner if your team prevails. It's about creating a mindset of respect, improvement, and humility. A great coach will act as a role model for these values, helping the team to celebrate their wins and consider opportunities for improvement.

Making Skill-Building Fun

Sometimes, coaches and parents take youth sports too seriously. This can be detrimental to the athletes and put too much pressure on them. It can even make them lose their love of athletics altogether.

A great coach always makes having fun a priority. Kids who are having the most fun are always winners. Coaches who can teach kids to have fun while skill-building will help set them up for a more enjoyable future, no matter what they decide to do.

Great Coaches Play an Important Role in Kids' Lives

Coaches can have more of an impact on the kids they work with than they might realize. That's why it's so important for coaches to think about how they approach different situations. A great coach can have a lasting, positive impact and help kids become happy, confident, successful adults.

Articles by Sarah Daren