Steve Locker was recently invited to the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) convention to speak about coaching and its importance in the development of children in today’s schools. Continuing our theme, we will give those of you who didn’t have a chance to attend the convention last week some insight into the meaningful discussions regarding childhood development that occurred. Read our last post on what good coaches and teachers have in common, or continue below for a discussion of what quality coaching looks like.
What does quality coaching look like?
In many United States schools, athletics takes a close second to academics, but while teachers are required to complete multiple levels of intensive education and continued development, many coaches are merely volunteers recruited by athletic directors. Both teachers and coaches have an intimate relationship with student and athlete success and development, so how do we address this disparity in experience and preparation?
Good coaches share many traits of good teachers; they support growth of confidence, life skills, hard work, passionate involvement, and most of all, they support creating a culture of improvement and development. The culture a coach creates is a vital component of athletic success.
Athletes must be able to develop:
- Risk Taking
- Hard Work Habits
- Abilities to overcome adversity
Kids must be allowed to take risks within the game and in practice, without fear of negative feedback. Without the chance to take risks and fail, they will not develop the skills to take those same risks and succeed. Further, kids should be rewarded for hard work and effort, encouraging passionate and personal involvement. Finally, kids should be provided with the tools and guidance to overcome adverse situations, whether that be a stronger team, negative situation, or classroom challenges.
Communication with the kids and other parties involved can address issues before they arise. Are your goals in alignment with your players? With the athletic department goals? With the parents? Communicating your expectations, from practice involvement to parental support (or lack thereof) will create an open environment that sets your kids up for a successful development culture.
Finally, is the game an educational opportunity? Or, just an opportunity to win? Respecting the game is an important consideration for coaching kids. Bending the rules, encouraging overly physical play, disrespecting officials, and weighting a win too heavily all hamper a coach’s ability to effectively develop healthy and successful players.
Quality coaching takes forethought and effort, but shares many of the skills and techniques a successful teacher will implement. It is our responsibility to create a culture where players can develop effectively.
Steve Locker pulls upon over 30 years of experience from collegiate coaching, professional playing, and children’s development to apply advanced soccer coaching, educational insight, and coaching education to organizations of any type. Steve can help your organization span the gap between coaching and teaching, or to develop a positive and age appropriate coaching environment.
- Steve Locker