Game strategy and skill development are very important in youth sports, but the secret to really getting the most out of your players goes way beyond the Xs and the Os.
What are the values of your team? They will determine the success of the season. Sometimes that success is measurable; sometimes it’s not. But helping your athletes learn these values will give them a better chance of reaching their potential. These 7 values will guide your team to the next level in their play.
Love. This means caring more about who the kids are than what they can do or how well they play.
Trust. As coaches, it’s important to provide a sense of safety in every interaction. Can your athletes trust what you say? Do you admit when you are wrong and offer an apology without reservation? Do you look for the good in your players and do they know you have their best interest at heart?
Loyalty. Teams must focus on what’s best for the team. If your players can trust you because they know you have their best interest at heart, they will be loyal even if they don’t understand everything. Your athletes may not know the why behind every decision you make, but because they know and trust your heart, they are loyal to the team.
Teachability. Encourage your players to ask questions, seek out learning opportunities, and keep a humble heart. That is the key to their growth and ultimately their success.
Sacrifice. There is a strong bond that forms when teammates are willing to go above and beyond for each other. That bond will take teams farther than maybe even their skill level would indicate.
Resourcefulness. Kids are good at finding problems, but teaching them how to come up with solutions, using innovation and creativity, will build a mindset that says, “we have all that we need to get the job done.” Learning to work with what and who you have will help them see opportunities, not limitations.
Fun. Youth sports should always be fun. Be sure you are laughing a lot with your players. Schedule time to just hang out and enjoy them as individuals, not just as a team you manage on the field. And always take the time to celebrate the victories, big and small.
These behavioral values are like a target your team can aim for. You don’t want the talent of your team to take them further than their character can sustain them because that usually ends in disappointment and disunity.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.