5 Tweets From May 2020 That Will Help You Become A Better Coach Of Young Athletes
These are the 5 best sports coaching-related tweets that I came across during May 2020.
You can become a better coach or sports parent by reflecting on the message contained in each tweet.
If any of these tweets resonate with you, I encourage you to click through to follow more of the author’s work.
You can vote for your favourite at the end of the article.
Tweet 1 – Drills vs Performance
Be cautious to NOT be so meticulous about the execution of a DRILL where the athletes loses context of how the skill is to be performed. Mastering a drill isn’t usually the goal. Improving performance is.
— Lee Taft (@leetaft) May 4, 2020
Drills – especially in sports like track and field – are traditionally seen as a coach’s “bread and butter”. They are commonly the main focus of a practise session and are often allocated the most time. But we can become too obsessed with getting good at drills.
The good performance of a drill doesn’t necessarily translate to the good performance of a skill within the context of a sport.
It is not uncommon for kids to look great doing closed or isolated drills and very ordinary when you add in competitors, decision making, unpredictability, or when the movements need to be done at speed or under additional force.
Drills have their place but they are a means to an end, not an end within themselves.
Tweet 2 – Don’t Bypass The Basics
There is little point of looking for where we can find marginal gains if the basics are not excellent and robust in the first place. Get the cake baked right before you concern yourself over the icing and decoration
— Frank Dick (@frankdickcoach) May 9, 2020
The focus of a lot of youth sports skills coaching is flawed.
In a rush to see our kids perform “advanced” sport-specific skills, we are leaving them with a faulty foundation.
We too often attempt to fast-track our kids past the fundamentals.
But you can’t. It doesn’t work.
I often come across coaches (or parents who are coaching their child) who are trying to teach an advanced technique to a youngster who has yet to master the basics and, to me, is clearly not ready to cope with the more complex movements being asked of them.
In fact, it is not uncommon to see these kids exhibiting glaring fundamental errors that are not being recognised, prioritised or addressed, and are possibly even being made worse with the attempted introduction of more complex movements.
The focus of the coaching is flawed.
Don’t bypass the basics.
Tweet 3 – Fundamentals First
— Jeremy Frisch (@JeremyFrisch) May 10, 2020
This tweet pairs well with the previous one.
There is not enough respect given to developing the basics in youth sport. People get impatient with the fundamentals.
Unfortunately a lot of kids are not as advanced in their skills as some people think. They lack the fundamentals.
“Advanced” is not the answer.
Many people think that a coach who gives kids “advanced” stuff is a better coach.
But a coach who properly teaches kids the fundamentals is far better than the coach who ignores them.
The technical stuff looks REALLY COOL. What looks “cool” is not necessarily effective.
Don’t be fooled by the advanced stuff.
You must learn your ABCs before constructing words and your words before constructing sentences.
The fundamentals are never too basic to teach.
Tweet 4 – Run Your Own Race
Your greatest competition will always be yourself. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Instead, just focus on being the best version of yourself everyday.
— Allistair McCaw (@AllistairMcCaw) May 11, 2020
A lot of emotional and physical energy gets wasted by young athletes when they focus on and worry about their competitors.
Focusing on an opponent means that the child is focusing on something outside of their control. This can negatively affect their chances of performing to their potential. One reason why young athletes may do well at a local level but perform well below their best at a championship or representative level is that they worry about their competitors.
Young athletes need to be encouraged to focus on the “controllables” rather than the “uncontrollables”. Competitors are uncontrollable.
Help young athletes learn to think that it is not about the competition; it is about them. Encourage an attitude in them where they focus more on being the best that they can be, rather than trying to be better than someone else.
When it comes to sport, young athletes need to “run their own race” instead of allowing things outside of their control to dictate how they compete. Kids need to focus on being the best that they can be.
Tweet 5 – Walk The Talk
Sometimes you need to show your Athletes you live the life you ask them to lead.
Show them you get uncomfortable too.
Show them you’re learning new things too.
Show them you’re strict about your nutrition too.
Show them you’re prepared for every session too.
— Grant Jenkins (@Grant_Jenkins) May 12, 2020
We all know how observant kids can be. We are often astounded at the minute details that they take in, and what they remember and relate back to us.
They are observing us all the time, looking for cues, direction, and guidance. They are always watching, even when we don’t know they are watching.
Kids will be a reflection of the influential adults in their life.
Coaches are role models for their young athletes. What better than to demonstrate the behaviours that you are demanding of them?
Walk your talk.
Vote For Your Favourite Tweet!
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Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Anchor or via email.