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Earning the Respect of Your Players

  
  
  
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A coach is in a position of power with their team, but as the saying goes "with great power comes great responsibility." A coach is responsible for the safety, well-being, and athletic development of their players and that is a not something to be taken lightly. Most coaches are well respected by their athletes and sports parents, but respect is still something you have to earn. It doesn't get handed out with a clipboard and whistle.

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Why Drill Stations Can Work Really Well at Practice

  
  
  
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So you've decided to volunteer this season as a youth sports coach! First off, thank you! It's parent-coaches like you that keep the sports wheel turning and without your our leagues wouldn't be possible! As a coach, one of your biggest tasks is figuring out how to manage practices. How can you keep young kids engaged, having a good time, learning the basic skills of their given sport, building team spirit and more?! It's a tall order for a few hours a week. One of the easiest things to do is keep your practice moving by planning several drills that focus on different skills.

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What Is the Role of the Assistant Coach?

  
  
  
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Being a youth sports coach is a big responsability! You've got a lot of moving parts to keep track of and sometimes it's hard to manage all on your own. That's why assistant coaches are so important to a youth sports team! They may not carry the biggest clipboard on the field, but they are a critical component of any successful team.

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Does Everyone Deserve a Trophy? Survey Says No!

  
  
  
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We've written about the debate over everyone getting a trophy in youth sports before. It was arguably one of the most discussed and debated topics we've ever hit on! Some people say that giving everyone a trophy (such as a participation award) undermines the value of the award itself and teaches kids that "showing up" is good enough. You don't get a reward for being "average" in real life, so why should we teach kids that lesson in sports? The counter argument is that parents need to lighten up! It's just Little League and giving a 7 year old a trophy is going to make them happy so why not let them have it? Isn't that what youth sports is about anyway?

Throwing Like a Girl - Can Coed Teams Work?

  
  
  
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13 year-old Mo'ne Davis made Little League World Series the other week as the first female pitcher to throw a shutout in the Little League postseason. She is one of the two girls playing in the 2014 Little League World Series. More than a thousand girls in the U.S. play high school baseball, according to Justine Siegal, the founder of Baseball For All, which "fosters, encourages and provides opportunities for girls to participate in baseball." Mo'ne Davis is not the first girl to ever choose baseball over softball, and she certainly won't be the last. But her shutout game got a lot of attention and has a lot of people talking about coed sports. Can they actually work? Can girls compete with boys even as they get older?

A Controversial Way to Keep Your Sports Parents in Line

  
  
  
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Dealing with sports parents is one of the hazards of being a youth sports coach. Most parents are great; they are friendly, helpful, get their kids to practice on time, help set up the field, have a positive attitude no matter what, and more. We love those sports parents! But no team is immune from "those" sports parents that coach from the sidelines, get into it with the officials, pick fights with other parents, scream at the kids, and so forth. Hopefully a quick word or two is all it takes to get one of those parents to calm down, but some parents need a much harsher approach in order to "get it." Some coaches have developed a rather controversial way to keep aggressive sports parents in line.

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How to Keep Young Players Occupied at Practice

  
  
  
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If you volunteered to coach a young team this season, think U-8 or even younger, you have to know that coaching very young players is nothing like coaching an older team. First off, young players aren't usually super invested in the sport yet. They are there because their parents signed them up or they wanted to hang out with the friends. They are probably more interested in running the bases than perfecting their batting stance And if you add the fact that young players typically can't focus for very long regardless of what they are doing, you realize that running a successful practice can be a lot like herding cats!

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Can The Mercy Rule Actually Make Things Worse?

  
  
  
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If you watched the World Cup this year you probably were  watching when Germany demolished Brazil in the Quarter Finals, winning 7-1. Soccer, much like hockey, is traditionally a very low scoring game. Most games are decided by 1 or 2 goals at the most. To watch Brazil, a team that was favored to win in its home country, be completely and utterly destroyed was cringe-worthy. No one likes to lose, and while losing a close game can be devastating, getting totally blown out of the water can be downright embarrassing. Part of playing youth sports means learning how to lose and lose with dignity, but when one team is running away with the score it's hard to hold your head up high and keep trying your best.

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Choosing Sports Teams Based on Friendships

  
  
  
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A few weeks ago we got an email from a baseball dad whose son plays in a league where one team was hand-picked by the coach and the other teams were created at random. Not surprisingly, the hand-picked team was made up of the best players in the league and was winning almost every game. This baseball dad's son was having a hard time staying excited throughout the season because he knew his team was going to get blown out of the water. And while no one likes to lose, especially a close game, knowing you are about to get obliterated because the other team is stacked is even worse. Why bother showing up if you'll only get to bat once and you can't stop the other team from running up the score?

Coaches Must Focus on Their Communication Skills

  
  
  
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One of the biggest mistakes new coaches can make is to assume that because they played a particular sport, even if they went fairly far in their athletic career, they are qualified to coach said sport. Doing it yourself and teaching someone else how to do it are two very things and require very different skill sets. One of the most important things a youth sports coach can do in order to help their team succeed is to focus on their communication skills.

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