Youth Sports Need Life Coaches
Unfortunately, many people hear the terms positive coaching and positive parenting and roll their eyes as if they do not want to hear them. It is a shame some people look negatively on those terms. I assume it is because they know sports are not all fun and games. They do not want to hear people continually telling kids to just have fun and expect them to go around smiling all the time. Of course, they have a point because although fun is an important youth sports ingredient, there is so much more to youth sports than just having fun. Although many people may disagree with that, many future life values are obtained from youth sports, whether fun is had or not.
I believe the only way to be a truly successful life coach is in the positive way. The whole key to a positive experience for youth begins with sport coaches, who are so much more than simply sport coaches. Youth sport coaches are life coaches for young, impressionable youth athletes. Besides children’s’ parents, no adults have more influence with a sports minded kid than their coach does. Youth remember the influence, positive or negative, that coaches had on them long after their careers end.
It is important to note that I said, “Besides their parents,” as the most important life coaches for kids are their parents. All parents are sport coaches for their kids, whether they realize it or not and whether they are the team coach or not. Parents are the ones that athletes go home with and discuss the happenings and outcomes of games. They are the ones that see and have to deal with the disappointments, successes, and career decisions of athletes. How parents “coach” during the ups and downs that sport produce is crucial to helping kids grow into successful adults. The problem is that there are positive life coaches and negative life coaches, and as mentioned, you can substitute the word parent for coaches.
There are numerous life lessons to learn from youth sports and positive parents and coaches are necessary to recognize those life lessons and communicate them to kids. On the playing fields, positive parenting is essential for youth to reach their sport potential. Without positive parenting, kids stop playing sports before they ever reach their potential, and many quit without even giving it much of a chance because the parental negativity makes it feel not worth it. Failing to experience positive parents, kids head down the road ill- equipped to handle tricky sport and life situations.
Life Coaches and Positive Parenting Go Hand in Hand
It all begins with communication and communication that is a two way street. So often parents make decisions for them without either consulting with them or by just assuming they know what their child desires. Of course, parent/child communication is not easy because kids have a difficult time communicating their feelings and often just say what they think their parent wants to hear. Often, parents must objectively try to evaluate their child’s behavior so they make the best decision for their child.
Positive life coaches communication skills
1. Know how to say things with compassion, realizing sports success is difficult to come by and with empathy so that players do not feel their character and self-esteem attacked.
2. Know where to say things – not in front of others.
3. Know when to talk to their kids about their sports play – not continually and never when kids feel bad enough already.
4. Understand that pushing kids and teaching with negativity does not work.
5. Never forget the F-word – fun is still necessary in youth sports and adults should never take sport so serious that kids feel as though it is more about their parent’s life than their own.
Finally, the best life coaches (parents), who display a positive sport and life outlook with these characteristics of understanding, compassion, fun, and empathy, help kids learn the same desirable traits.