It's no secret that the relationship between coach and athlete is a precarious one. Coaches don't only influence how kids and adolescents develop from a physical point of view, but from an ethical one as well. This is why it's so crucial that new coaches learn what amateur mistakes they need to stay away from. Yes, it's true that everybody makes mistakes and learns from them. However, coaches who tend to make mistakes on a regular basis, no matter how small, lose both the respect and the trust of their teams.
This is because young athletes see their coaches as influential figures who got where they are by knowing how to handle even the toughest of situations. So, if you're a coach and are just starting out, it's important to know which crucial mistakes you need to avoid making:
1. New Coaches Tend to Ignore the Communication Aspect
This is a mistake you can't afford to make. It's important to establish communication from the very first time you meet your team. Make sure everyone is clear on the rules and what's expected of them in terms of try-outs, practices and sportsmanship. This way, you won't have to deal with too many unexcused absences and general tardiness from your team. Clearly explain that they'll be penalized if something like that happens.
New coaches also fail to establish proper communication with the parents.
As a coach, you'll have to deal with conflicts involving parents. Provide them with a detailed calendar of activities at the beginning of the year. This way, they'll know what to expect and they'll appreciate your efforts of keeping them informed.
2. Giving Parents Too Much Control
It's easy for new coaches to feel intimidated when dealing with a lot of parents, especially when some of them criticize their coaching abilities. Keep in mind that parents need to have a say in what happens to their kids, but it doesn't mean you need to make constant changes to keep everyone happy. If you start doing that you'll end up disorganized and without a plan.
New coaches need to answer any questions parents may have and address their concerns. However, they also need to remember they are the ones who are coaching the team, not the parents. One way to get on good terms with parents is to sit with them during a match and explain the rules, helping them better understand the sport their kids play. Keep in mind not all parents are sports aficionados.
3. Too Little Organization
Organizing paperwork and practice times needs to come first on any coach's to-do list. Too much disorganization can cause teams to fall apart. Creating spreadsheets and keeping notes is one way of doing staying organized. However, these methods still end up eating a lot of your time, meaning you won't be able to coach as much as you should.
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