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What Makes Someone a Great Youth Sports Coach?


Anyone who has ever been involved in a youth sports organization can tell you about the good, the okay and the terrible coaches they’ve had over the years. Hopefully the terrible coaches were far and few in between, but chances are the truly great coaches were just as hard to come by. Since most youth sports organizations rely on volunteers to serve as coaches, finding a mom or dad that has all the skills, know-how, passion and natural ability to coach a team is a lot like finding a needle in a haystack. But when you do find a great youth sports coach, they most likely have the following skills:

Committed to teaching the fundamentalsWhat Makes Someone a Great Youth Sports Coach?

As silly as it may sound, a great youth sports coach realizes that they are a youth sports coach. This isn’t the majors, a Division 1 college team, or even highly-competitive travel team—this is the time and place where players learn the fundamentals of their given sport that will carry them on to those higher levels of competition. A great youth sports coach is committed to teaching their players the proper techniques and necessary skills needed to excel in the sport, and doesn’t gloss over the basics in order to get to the more complex plays and drills. Every professional or Olympic athlete got their start in youth sports, where a great coach taught them how to play the game.

Understands the limitations of their team

When dealing with a youth sports team, different players are going to have different skill levels. Some kids might have learned to throw a baseball from the moment their dad could find a glove small enough to fit their hands; others might be lacing up their skates for the first time. A great sports coach understands the limitations and skill levels of each of their players and finds a way to give everyone the attention they need. They need to be able to help the newer players improve while still giving the more advanced players more difficult skills to master. It’s a delicate balance and a great youth sports coach knows how to walk that line.

Passionate about the sport

A great youth sports coach loves the sport and loves to coach. They want to be on the field/court/ice every day and their enthusiasm ripples down through the team. It’s easy to get a youth athlete excited when you’re excited, and a great youth sports coach has enough passion to feed the whole team (and even get the parents amped up!).

What are some other characteristics of a great youth sports coach? Leave your comments below!



Coaching involves more than designing plays for free kicks or creating team formations. Coaching, especially at the youth level, involves accepting a huge responsibility as you are basically in a position of trust as parents put their kids in your care. 
1 Communicate Positively 
2 Help Players Become Fit.
Posted @ Thursday, March 01, 2012 10:29 PM by Custom iPhone App
Excellent article Jodi. You really hit the nail on the head. If I may I'd like to add one thing. 
This is not a fairy tale, although it may sound like it. My first year of coaching I inherited a team which I could immediately tell had been under-developed. We worked hard to correct that problem 
The team began the season 0-4 against opposition I felt we were better than. After the fourth loss we had a “Come to Jesus meeting” in the dugout, where to my shock … it was apparent the team was never told they were expected to win. 
The kids’ mental attitude changed immediately and we finished the season 8-4. Point is … sometimes we forget to address the mental issues as well as the physical skills. Thanks.  
Posted @ Friday, March 02, 2012 10:46 AM by Jim
A good youth-sport-trainers has to love the sport he is teaching, loves the kids he/she is training like his own kids, praises and gives compliments when they are doing well, and has patience when things go wrong and tells the kids on an easy way wat goes wrong and how they can do better, but gives them also the time to find out themselves : PLEASE: Let them play!
Posted @ Sunday, March 04, 2012 6:00 PM by Bas
I've coached youth soccer for nine years now, it's hard to believe, for all three of my daughters. I've learned that you are a role model for these kids, for handling success and failure, and interacting with everyone, from the opposition to the parents to the officials. A good coach instills confidence and humility; exuberance and grace; the will to win and the respect for the game and the opponent. If I've done these things, the on-field results will come in their time.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 06, 2012 9:57 AM by Eli@coach-daddy
As a coach of both Little League baseball and youth soccer my thought process has always been to try to look at things through the eyes of my players. Find the common ground and build from there, assessing each child's skill level and talents on an individual basis. I then always (during games) put each player in a position for him/her to succeed based upon their level of skill and experience-the last thing I want is for a child who cannot throw to the catcher to pitch. I would rather foster an environment where each child can perform well and be proud of what he/she accomplishes.
Posted @ Thursday, March 08, 2012 11:33 AM by Brian Hege
A great youth sports coach will see their players return year after year. It is great to see the progress and enthusiasm of a particular player (or group of players) whether they return to your team, or to an opposing team. The love of the game is something that not everyone can properly teach and that is something I try to bring along with fairness to every practice, game and even pizza party!
Posted @ Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:17 PM by Matt
Posted @ Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:37 PM by GABRIEL DOMINGUEZ
Treats every player on the team as equally valuable. Focuses on developing every player, not just the "best" ones. Sees equal playing time as the standard and only varies from that for strong reasons.
Posted @ Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:56 PM by Ann DeWitt
Coaching for seven years from age 5 to 12 it is important for me to keep the kids busy during the practices. With assistance of other coaches break down players by three stations and have them practice different drills at each station and rotate them. Bored players will not have fun, which is the most essential part of learning baseball or any sport of that manner.
Posted @ Friday, March 30, 2012 8:15 AM by Pete
Establish good communication with your players parents. Let them know the expectations of the team that they are playing on and what is expected of both players and parents.
Posted @ Friday, March 30, 2012 10:56 AM by Frank
The ability to see the long term big picture and let the kids play for fun. Equal playing time for pre puberty kids where the coach is only concerned with the kids development, both mental and physical, wrapped in a play for fun atmosphere.
Posted @ Monday, April 09, 2012 5:50 AM by vj stanley
I am a parent to a all year round 9y/o athlete and supporting every game,fundraiser,meetings and volunteer staff have lead me into the passion of Sports Management.A career in Nursing and EMS (emt-b) for the past 17yrs I have seen almost everything in a hospital setting,E.R.,and the streets as a EMT-B and Paramedic student and that nature nuture as a Mother still appear.With all your updates and other readings in this field allow me to enjoy it from a career and personal aspect.Keep the info coming. I'm learning more.
Posted @ Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:28 PM by Kamilah
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