Young Athletes Coaching Style In A Nutshell
By Dave Gleason
The primary coaching style we want to use with our youngest athletes is called outcome based coaching. This style of coaching puts more emphasis on the outcome of the activity or exercise you have asked for from from your athletes.
Outcome based coaching utilizes very little cueing or technique modifications if any. Our 6-9 year old athletes can suffer from goal confusion, leading to frustration and a less than average experience. As athletic revolution franchisees our goal must be to provide an exciting, memorable and remarkable experience – EVERY TIME.
A communicative coaching style such as outcome based coaching is exactly what a young person needs to ensure the indoctrination of a healthy physical culture. At some point in life every athletic career ends. Our role is to provide an opportunity for their ability to move and exercise to continue long into their adult lives…no matter their current level of sporting success.
In addition, it is imperative that a young athlete discovers movement patterns on their own as much as possible. The central nervous system is considered more plastic for a young athlete. That is, a young athlete’s CNS is very sponge like or magnet like. Internal and external stimulus is more readily assimilated, learned from and transferred to movement patterns. This aspect of neural development is a crucial component of the natural development of a child. Let your young athletes “Discover” movement patterns on their own.
Here are some practical concepts to think about as you engage in outcome based coaching:
Be careful what you ask for. If you cue your athletes to skip across the length of your facility and what a few of them perform is a high skip in a zig pattern…they are STILL giving you what you asked for. Encourage their creativity followed by layering one or two appropriate boundaries with simple cueing. In this example ask the entire group to skip in a straight line on the next try.
Be a reflective coach. During and after your sessions reflect on the effectiveness of your coaching cues. Take note of what was successful and what you and your coaches need to improve on. Communicating more effectively with your young athletes will only result in more fun for them..and you!
Praise and praise often. When a child gives you their interpretation of what you asked of them praise them for it. If modifications or boundaries need to be communicated use simple cuing. For instance, a lunge walk with a pronounced forward lean at the hips can be corrected by saying “heads up, eyes up, or reach for the sky”.
Use names. Calling and praising a child by name will add tremendous value to the relationship building process and significantly increase the enjoyment your young athletes experience while in your care. In short, it makes it personal.
Take these concepts and coach your young athletes with your heart first, head second.
Keep changing lives!