Last Updated: September 23, 2017 

COACHES TIPS

  • Expect your players to think. They are not robots. Part of your role is teaching them to think on the field so that they are better thinkers off the field. Asking rather than telling is a good way to get them to think: "What might you have done on that play?" What they say may surprise you.
  • Teach your athletes to respect the game by teaching them abouut how to Honor The Game. Honoring the game means respecting the Rules, the Officials, our Opponents, our Teammates, and ourSelves. ROOTS.
  • Give your athletes a chance to officiate at practice to learn how hard the job of the official can be. Once they've experienced officiating, your athletes are more likely to respect officials in game situations who might miss a call.
  • Lead by example. When your players and their parents see you keep your temper in check, for example, when an official misses a call, they are more likely to check their own tempers.
  • Avoid the obvious criticism. Players usually know when they've made a mistake.
  • Ask permission of a player before giving him or her criticism or correction. For example, "I noticed something that might help you strike the ball better. Would you like to know what it is?". Asking permission gives athletes control, making them more open to the correction. Respect an answer of "no". There will be opportunities to give this information when they are better able to hear it.
  • Some days before practice, your emotional tank may be drained, leaving you unable to lead a dynamic practice. Use a transition ritual to prepare yourself, such as listening to music or exercising before your players arrive.

PARENTS TIPS

  • Your children's youth sports experience will end, and it may happen suddenly. Hopefully, you will not look back and think, "I wish I had enjoyed it more instead of obsessing over performance, or playing time or the team's record." Enjoy the experience; it will end too soon.
  • Make sure your child's coaches receive some kind of thank-you from the players after the season. It does not have to be something expensive. The best gift is something the players put together or create themselves.
  • Steady your gaze on the Big Picture, not temporary on-field victory, but long-term character development that will help your children throughout their lives and enable them to help your grandchildren.
  • Cheer good plays by the opposing team. Once in a while, try acting so that an observer who doesn't know you and your child will not be able to tell which team your child is on.
  • Seize teachable moments. Turn negatives into positives by helping your children bounce back, and capitalize even further on positives by helping your children understand what they did right, so they can do it again.
  • Help your children apply lessons learned in sports to other aspects of life. For example, "If you can work hard enough to overcome obstacles on the soccer field, I have confidence you can handle that paper that's due next week.
  • "Divided loyalties hinder people. Sharing your disapproval of a coach with your children puts them in a bind. Conversely, when parents support a coach, it is easier for children to put forth maximum effort. If you think your child's coach is mishandling a situation, do not tell your child. Ask for a meeting with the coach.