Youth Sports – Coach Resources Tip 2
Praise the Effort – not the outcome.
Have you ever heard the phrase that “practice makes perfect”? We’ll have to disagree with that one because practice makes perfect only if you practice the right way to do something. If you are practicing the wrong fundamentals, you’ll perfect the wrong way of doing something. We prefer the phrase that Practice make Permanent. As a coach, its our job to ensure that the player is demonstrating and practicing proper mechanics each and every time they run a drill. Take the time to check the feet positioning, the hand placement, lateral movement etc, because if the player consistently performs the right mechanics, the proper athletic form will become part of their natural instinct on game day.
The player’s job it to put forth the best effort. That means staying focused on the task at hand, listening to the coach, breaking bad habits and completing each drill with 100% effort. It means running through the finish line of a 40 yard wind sprint, not coasting in the last five yards. It means practicing at home with brothers, sisters or parents. The difference between 95% and 100% is the difference between winning a game and losing a game.
With Coaches teaching the right mechanics and players putting forth their best effort, the results will come. It may take all game, it may take all season…but you never give up on a kid that is giving you everything they’ve got. We don’t know who the next Michael Jordan or Aaron Rodgers will be, but with positive reinforcement, a focus on fundamentals and best efforts, we might just find out. Effort and practice will always come before the results, and the results always come before games are won.
Share this philosophy with your parents too. Many young parents equate winning the game with a positive youth sports experience. But the real reward is just playing the game with a competitive spirit. We want to win the game, but the real “wins” happen at practice. Practice wins come before victories in the game and victories in the game come before game victories.
Celebrate the successes along the way. You should critique the fundamentals, but always recognize the positive things before offering critique. And remember that when the officials call a penalty or violation on your player, they are empowering you as a coach to teach and correct the fundamentals… so, Praise the Effort – not the outcome.