Fun. We all need a little bit of it in our lives. We also need encouragement; you can build it into your practices. Bringing encouragement and fun to practice helps yourself while helping your kids.
Consider this: 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.
Why share this on a post on positivity? Because we as coaches make a difference! Some kids may be dealing with an alcoholic father or mother , some form of abuse, or other hardships. We just don’t know. Sometimes it’s a coach that changes a kid’s personal attitude and outlook. This has been true for many kids.
So how do we create positivity for our kids in our practices Here’s what sets the great coaches apart from the average. Here are a few ideas.
- Enthusiasm makes a difference.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.’
Chances are you have had a coach or a teacher who made a difference in your life. You probably remember his upbeat attitude, hearty laugh, or huge smile. Maybe the coach was downright goofy, but had a way to get you excited about the sport.
Where’s your smile? Do you laugh often in practice? And do you illustrate a positive, enthusiastic attitude? Or would your kids say that you are too serious? And by the way, when it seems the kids aren’t quite getting it, it’s important to take the long view of their development. When you do, it’s easier to keep that enthusiasm high.
2. Play upbeat energetic music.
Why not? Find out what they like and play it during drills to keep the energy high. And this doesn’t mean playing your favorite 80’s music just because you think they need to appreciate ‘your’ music because it’s the best!
Here’s what Xavier Rico, 2015 US Youth Soccer Coach of the Year – Boys Competitive has to say on this:
I play music. That’s coming from my background growing up — someone always played music. So, I always play music. Hispanic music or Latin music — anything that has rhythm. I feel like it helped me when I was a kid to not be stressed about the game or just for the rhythm. I feel like dancing is so close to what we do with the ball on the field, so I play music.
Xavier won the award. So maybe you should just play some salsa music!
3. Fun Awards and Competitions
Find ways to add fun awards. One coach who had never coached soccer took a cue from a lady coach who did what she called the “Bubblegum Award’’. He instituted it as well with his recreational soccer team. Participation was key and every single girl won that award. Each week, he would have a theme such as who hustled the most or who had the most progress in foot skills or passing. The kids looked forward to that award and many of the parents commented on how much they enjoyed seeing the girls talk about that.
Of course, the Bubblegum Award might not be appreciated by 15 year old boys playing at an elite level. Make your fun award or competition appropriate for your team.
Positivity changes our outlook and it helps us to deal with our own personal adversities. Remember that kids are learning how to look at life and YOU are the one person who might help them deal with challenges, both on and off the field. Keep it Positive!