There are many life lessons to be taken from coaching youth sports. Sometimes, they can be the same lessons your little players are also learning. Perhaps as an adult, you are simply learning these lessons again. Or you may just be interpreting them through a different lens.
“If You Ain’t 15 Minutes Early, You’re A Half An Hour Late”
This is the first memory I have as a kid playing basketball. It’s a sentence I will never forget. My coach was a former standout at the University of South Carolina. He treated us as if he was the actual Division One South Carolina coach, and we were his 5-star recruit players about to enter March Madness. We were ten years old. It sounds intense, I understand, but herein lies the first rule of coaching youth sports. There are some values that are non-negotiable.
When you break it down, these values are all centered around respect. Respect for yourself and those around you. Respect becomes a way of life. It’s how an athlete carries themselves and how they approach the game. Therefore, it’s important as a coach to ask yourself if respect is present in the environment you and your team are creating. It has a way of applying to everything while also being an evolving process.
Speaking of which, more often than not, youth coaches are volunteers. This means that they are not paid. Sometimes, they never even played the sport they are coaching. However, they care enough to dedicate their time and attention to help make the sporting experience memorable for the youth program. So keep that in mind and cut them some slack. This is true of referees and umpires, as well.
Coaching youth sports can be a year-round commitment. We often end one season and immediately transition to the next sport. Here are five life lessons learned from coaching youth sports.