Sports can provide numerous learning opportunities and development for not only athletes but coaches too. But no coach is perfect. A closed-minded approach can even keep players from reaching their full potential and destroying the team.
A coach must understand which areas they can improve in and learn new perspectives on coaching. By avoiding mistakes, coaches can give their athletes a stronger foundation and see better results.
Here’s a list of six common mistakes most coaches make and how you can learn from them.
Trying to Please Everybody
As an experienced leader or coach will tell you, pleasing everyone is impossible. Trying to do so will only result in you dealing with unnecessary stress and diluting your influence as a leader.
Instead of being a people pleaser and giving the parents what they want so they won’t get mad, do what you think is best for your team. You have to learn to handle the heat until you can show results.
Focusing on the Outcome, Not the Process
In youth sports specifically, winning is almost never the primary objective. Developing your players and letting them enjoy the game they love is much more important in building them as professional athletes.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work towards winning as a goal, but it should not be the only thing you think about. Youth sports are about the process and journey that shape young minds.
Putting their Athletes in a Box
Coaches, like many teachers, initially label their athletes using the wrong points, like size, sibling performance, or parents’ attitude. Many coaches do this unconsciously as it’s more convenient for their minds and makes it easier for them to choose players for certain positions.
However, putting labels based on the wrong factors lowers an athlete’s chances of growing. In youth sports, kids must be challenged to think differently and grow their potential but forcing them into a single position inhibits that.
Not Communicating Well with the Players
A common mistake with all types of leaders, including coaches, is not communicating well. Not explaining the decisions you make to your players will create unnecessary conflicts.
Kids can only grow and develop if they know the reason behind what you do. For instance, tell your players why they can’t play the position they want or why you’re pulling them out of softball training.
Failing to Engage with their Athletes
Coaches play an important role in the lives of their athletes. So, if a coach can’t engage the hearts and minds of their players, they won’t get inspired to be better athletes and push themselves.
Pushing an athlete’s buttons by using sarcastic or demeaning comments might motivate some to perform better in the short term, but it does a lot more harm later on. Successful coaches can inspire their athletes without embarrassing or humiliating them.
Progressing Way Too Fast
Newborns learn to crawl and walk before they learn to run; an athlete is no different. It’s essential for coaches to focus on developing the muscles and movement of their athletes and work towards building on those fundamentals.
Athletes can reach their full potential once they understand the responsibility of their development. If a coach tries to control every situation and restricts certain ideas, it’ll inhibit their growth.