Young Athletes Goals
The Pygmalion Effect can either elevate a workers productivity or entirely undermine it. For instance, workers who receive continuous verbal praise for their efforts, while being supported by non-verbal means, will aspire and ascend to even more productivity. In contrast, if a worker receives less praise or even communication from management than their peers or co-workers, although nothing is being conveyed verbally, the worker feels as though they are under-appreciated and will see a lapse or decrease in productivity.
Livingston substantiated this point –
“If he (the manager) is unskilled, he leaves scars on the careers of the young men and women, cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if he is skillful and has high expectations of his subordinates, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop and their productivity will be high. More often than he realizes, the manager is Pygmalion”
Now, apply these realities to the world of youth sports and coaching young athletes.
If inappropriate managerial skills, in the form of limited positive affirmations or feedback, can effect an adult to the degree that they will have "scars… cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings", what do you think happens to children under the pressure of inappropriate coaching?
In understanding the relevancy and practicality of the Pygmalion Effect, answer these questions for yourself:
Why doesn’t a "one size fits all" coaching approach work?
Do coaches treat all of their young athletes the same, or do they every so subtly play favorites?
What would happen to the ability and self-esteem of young athletes if their coaches and parents demonstrated great pride in their efforts and positively voiced a level of expectation, based entirely on the notion that the coach "knows" the young athlete could achieve this?
Should we make our young athletes more concerned about the results of a game or training session, or spend our energy with heaping positive praise and expectation on them because we know that they are capable of anything?
Here is a list of Pygmalion-based coaching strategies for you to use with your young athletes: