One thing I've learned over the years from working with youth is that coaches and parents need a ton of support as well! Navigating the sports world, trying to be a great support system for our kiddos, and sometimes getting caught up in our own competitiveness can make it hard to know what to do and how to do it. That's why I wanted to put together this post with resources and tips for parents and coaches to help them navigate the tricky world of a youth athletes.
I've been investigating resources that parents and youth coaches can add to their bag of tricks to help them be the best they can as teacher and supporter. I wanted to share with you some of the resources I like best so you have access to them when you need them.
Websites and Podcasts:
Working with Parents in Sport : "Working with Parents in Sport" (WWPIS) is a UK based company that supports parents and coaches in working together to provide children with the best possible sporting experiences.
WWPIS is a great resource that provides you with articles, seminars, workshops, and tips that can help you on your journey as a youth sports parent.
Parenting Peak Performers : If you are into Podcasts, check this one out! Hosted by Kathy A. Feinstein, a fellow Mental Performance Consultant, Kathy talks to athletes, coaches, and parents to give you a well rounded perspective on ways to approach sport parenting. The Parenting Peak Performers website also has other great information and resources.
Youth Baseball Edge with Rob Tong : Rob Tong uses his experience as a father of 7 and youth baseball coach to bring you great advice and experience not only from his own perspective, but from the great resources that he interviews on the Youth Baseball Edge Podcast. His podcast tailors not only to youth baseball coaches, but to all youth coaches, and can help you become a better coach!
Practical Parenting with Katie Hurley, LCSW : Katie came and spoke at the local elementary school a few weeks ago and gave some wonderful tips and insights about today's youth and how we can best support them. She's also written many articles with great helpful information!
Moms Team : I came across this website and it has a lot of great information. One great thing about this website is that the information provided comes from a team of experts in their respective fields. Definitely worth checking out.
Positive Coaching Alliance : The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) has been an advocate for positive coaching and youth development for years, and is full of resources for parents, coaches, athletes, and leaders. I highly recommend checking it out.
CoachUP Nation : Coach Up is another great resource to check out. The Coach Up Nation website has great blog posts and articles that can help you navigate some of the very things you are experiencing as a youth coach or parent.
I've always believed that as youth sport parents and coaches, our best role is to encourage and support youngsters on their journey to finding their own athletic and competitive spirit. I try to live this vision myself when I'm coaching. Hopefully from the list above, you'll find one or more resources to help you on your own journey as a youth sports parent or coach. As you know, it takes a village, so if you have other resources you'd like to share, please comment below!
Until next time!!
We’ve all heard the expression, “you have to fail to succeed.” Losing a game, getting scored on, not playing one’s best; these are all common occurrences in youth soccer. How can we use those experiences to better our teams? As coaches, how can we create a healthy perspective about winning, losing, and adversity that supports individual and team improvement?
As coaches, we are privileged to be in a position to teach and inspire our youth to love sports and to return each year. We impact their development, teach them about teamwork, and contribute to their improvement. Teaching them how to handle adversity is a great way to enhance and foster their improvement and development.
In our society, winning is plastered EVERYWHERE and we learn early in life that winning must be important. Adults also get lost in the shuffle that “winning is everything.” It's a natural part of competition without questions. Unfortunately, kids start to adopt that same mentality and as a result may not know how to handle adversity or losing.
The funny thing is that most kids would put winning way down on their list of why they play a sport. They often list making friends, having fun, and enjoyment higher then winning. And most pro athletes would list adversity as one of the main reasons they are now successful. Teaching youngsters about finding opportunities for growth in both winning and losing will help them develop the right skills to handle those scenarios now and in the future in both sport and life.
One of my favorite approaches is the FEEL and DEAL approach. No matter what situation we’re faced with, feel and deal means to feel what we’re going through, then to deal with it. Learn from it, and then move on. This can be especially helpful when facing adversity. Every experience provides opportunities for growth.
It’s winning and learning not winning and losing
Creating a healthy perspective about losing and adversity can help youth in these ways:
Below, you’ll find a few tips how to talk about and approach adversity:
Encourage a growth mindset.
-The growth mindset says that we are all learners throughout life. Taking risks and making mistakes are necessary for growth. Our outlook about risks and mistakes can dictate our mindset and behavior. Encourage the growth mindset in your players, and try to live this as a coach.
Remind your team that winning isn’t everything.
-Do we want to win? YES! Is winning the most important thing? NO! Winning is a byproduct of many other things including preparation and effort. Even when we do those things, we still may not win.
-Mistakes and challenges can be the most teachable moments. Teach your team how to embrace and learn from them. Adopt the growth mindset, where learning comes from all experiences.
Talk to your team about failure and adversity.
-What is failure? What is adversity? What does it mean? How do we behave or respond to it? In the early stages of your season, define what failure and adversity mean and how to approach them. Check in and reinforce those themes regularly.
Ask more process related questions.
-What did we do well today? What was the most fun about today? What can we do better next time? Why do you think that didn’t go as well today? What did we learn? Give them a voice while providing some constructive feedback of your own.
Check your reactions to “mess-ups,” adversity, losing, and winning.
-What is your body language saying? What words are you using and how is your tone? Are you only cheering for good or positive performance behavior? Youngsters can quickly recognize conflicting words and body language, so be aware of how you’re reacting. Remember, they learn how to react to and approach these scenarios mostly by watching adults so the key is to be a good example.
Focus on what’s IN YOUR CONTROL.
-This is true for both coaches and players. Stay focused on things you can control like effort and preparation. Avoid worrying about things outside of your control, like outcome, opponents, and referees.
Practice positive self-talk.
-Helping youngsters develop good self-talk habits will help them approach sport and life with a “can do” attitude and not get too down on themselves. When you hear a player say a negative statement, ask them to rephrase it with something positive. The same goes for coaches; rephrase language to be positive or constructive.
Overall, it’s about balance. Kids are like sponges and develop their coping strategies towards winning and adversity based on what they observe in the grown ups that have the most influence in their lives – parent, teachers, coaches. Teach them to focus on the steps it takes to learn new things rather than the final results, and most importantly be a good example of this yourself.
Hey! I'm Katie, and I specialize in Mental Performance. I believe greatly in mindset and the role it plays in life.