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A Good Youth Sports Coach Is Sociable, Empathetic and a Good Communicator

In the ideal world your child's coach will be someone who is a good two-way communicator, both with his or her players and with their parents.

Coach-child communication

He  is someone:

  • your child feels he can talk to;

  • who is open and friendly (when he talks to her, does he get down on her eye level?);

  • with whom your child feels he can connect one-on-one;

  • who doesn't put up barriers to communication, such as clipboards, desks, or assistant coaches;

  • who polls her players to find out what is important to them, such as how games and practices could be more fun.

  • doesn't take things too seriously or make winning a matter of life or death; she can laugh at herself, take things in stride, maintain a positive attitude, and just let the kids be kids.

Coach-parent communication

You should feel as a parent that you can talk to the coach about your child (playing time, skill development etc.), or his coaching philosophy, and be taken seriously.  I don't know how many e-mails I get from parents frustrated that they can't even get the coach to admit the existence of a problem.

A good youth sports coach should:

  • communicate frequently with athletes and their parents via meetings, e-mail, handouts etc.;

  • invite input from parents about practice schedules and the number of tournaments the team will enter;

  • hold "drop in" meetings for parents, and ask parents and players to complete post-season evaluations.

  • look for signs of trouble with athletes or parents and comes up with ways to nip the problem in the bud.

  • genuinely listen to what players and parents say and try to meet their needs if possible.  By listening, a good coach can better relate to his players and understand the true reason for a player's behavior, whether it is slacking off during practice or not performing to her ability in games. That way, the coach can come up a way to motivate the player to perform at his best.

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