There is plenty of research that shows kids quit playing sports when they stop having fun. But what about coaches? Not all coaches have the option of quitting when coaching stops being fun. A commitment to coach a child's team or a commitment to others to stick it out for the season can leave a coach in an endurance contest to season end. When this occurs, coaches should rethink their focus and consider coaching for their own enjoyment.
In youth sports, coaches have a difficult time controlling wins. Different players have varying commitments to hard work and consistent play is based on other factors in their lives. For coaches trying to put together a winning season or to please demanding parents, these challenges can quickly unravel a season. By returning to the fundamentals of youth coaching, coaches can take control of their situation and increase their level of enjoyment. These fundamentals are:
- Enjoy teaching - Watch for and enjoy the progress of individual players or the team.
- Enjoy learning - There are plenty of books and videos that give coaches insights. Experimenting with different approaches and drills can make things more interesting for everyone.
- Enjoy being a role model - Get to know the players better and try to build relationships that will last past the season.
- Enjoy working with others - Opposing coaches can be more than competitors, they can also be mentors and friends who are dealing with the same issues.
- Enjoy friends - Coaching often exposes everyone to new people and opportunities for new friendships.
Coaching at the youth level should be enjoyable. When it isn't, coaches should make sure they are driving their own efforts toward these fundamentals. Not only will coaches have more fun, but it also increases the likelihood that the team will have more fun too.