THE YMCA COACH’S ROLE:
The youth coach’s role is to teach skills and team play within a framework that includes these elements:
Work with every player on your team. The most highly skilled and least highly skilled player on your team should be given equal attention. Every player can be helped to improve in ability and enjoy playing. And it’s more important that every player participate and have fun, than that a few good players dominate the action.
Work on basic skills and fundamentals and teach physical fitness habits. Younger teams especially should concentrate on fundamentals. Teach the skills and concentrate on the basics.
Help players become conscious of the importance of proper techniques in execution. Stop the action often enough to help individual players improve without excessive interference.
Demonstrate the importance of fitness habits such as warm-up and conditioning exercises. Talk to your players about diet, rest, and involvement in other sports and activities.
Teach fair play. Playing fair is an essential part of youth sports. It’s a set of attitudes, which include …
- Respect for oneself – taking responsibility for one’s own behavior and learning.
- Respect for one’s teammates – working to become a team player who unselfishly contributes to the good of the whole team.
- Respect for the other team – considering the other team an essential partner in competition.
- Respect for the rules and the officials who uphold them.
Help players set and evaluate individual goals. Competing against oneself is perhaps the best way to improve skills. Help players measure their skills, set goals for the future and work to reach those goals. What is important is not so much how players measure up against each other, but how much each player learns and grows and reaches new levels of skill and enjoyment.
Keep winning in perspective. Winning games is only one of the many goals which are important in sports. Help players (and their parents) become aware of other important goals; learning skills, becoming more fit, being a good leader sometimes and a good follower other times, dealing with the emotions of sport, and having fun. YMCA coaches should provide keen, intense competition, but not at the expense of any of these important goals.
Encourage lifetime involvement in sports and physical activity. Sports are fun for life. More importantly, regular cardiovascular exercise is important for a lifetime. Unlike some sports which are appropriate primarily for the young, soccer and basketball may be enjoyed for many years. Encourage parents to play the game with your players at home, and discuss the importance of physical exercise through sports as a lifetime interest.
Work with the whole person: spirit, mind and body. Physical fitness is important but so are mental attitudes and spiritual growth. YMCA sports programs emphasize overall personal development. By working with each person individually to realize his or her physical limits, potentials, ideas and feelings the YMCA coach has an opportunity to build strong values along with strong bodies.