What do youth sports coaches want? My daughter answered this question pretty clear-ly this past spring when she began her season of coaching varsity softball (which unfortunately was cut short by COVID).
I read her email sent to all the parents and I thought it would be valuable to share what she told the moms and dads of her players. She established this set of Team Rules:
1. Player to Coach Communication. Every player will learn how to communicate properly with the coach. We want to emphasize good habits by communicating proactively. If a player has an issue (late to practice, doctor appointment, prior school function, etc), she must communicate this with the coaches directly.
2. Be ready to go at practice time. If practice starts at 4 pm, every player needs to have cleats tied by 3:50 pm.
3. Effort and attitude. There are only two things in this world you CAN control: your effort and attitude. Setting YOUR priorities and eliminating all other distractions. Come early or stay late when necessary. Motivated by an inner desire to improve yourself. Give 100% effort and possess a positive attitude.
4. Be patient with your pace of progress. Be a “big picture” person. Put in the hours and be willing to overcome the obstacles on the tough days. Have the ability to never quit, because you have perspective.
5. Accountability and responsibility. If you fall short in a task, a requirement, have the courage and admit your error. Carry out your punishment and move on. It is that simple.
6. You will either be positive or poisonous. In every environment you experience you have a choice at how you look at it, how you talk about it, and how you become successful within it. There are only two types of people in this world: positive and poisonous. Which one are you?
7. Show respect for the program and the team. Our ups and downs are only OURS to share. Think twice before you share your “funny” humiliating story to an outsider who may “act” like they really care. Possess the sincere ability to respect your teammates whether you can relate to them or not. Whether you socialize with them or not. Every person has positives within them, something that makes THEM special. It is YOUR job to find the positives and focus on them. You have a choice.
Perhaps your child’s coach has not verbalized it, but I’m pretty sure that these are the types of things they’d like to see in their players.
If you are a coach, it’s important to verbalize expectations to parents and players. If you are a parent, encourage your child to set these guidelines for themselves be-cause even if the coach hasn’t communicated them, there’s no doubt that these are the habits they want to see in their players.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.
USA Football's model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.