Category Archives: General Coaching

The Ultimate Measure Of Grass Roots Coaching Success

The Best Way to Measure the Effectiveness of a Youth Sports Coach

How do you know that you are doing a good job as a grass roots youth sports coach? How do you know if your kid’s coach is succeeding in their role?

By the end of this article you will have learnt a ridiculously easy and reliable way to measure the success of a grass roots coach.

But firstly, how do we most commonly measure this success?

The Most Common Measure of Youth Coaching Success

Like most coaches, I early on went through a time when it was the results that mattered to me most. I thought that the best way to measure if I was doing a good job was the number of wins, medals and titles that my athletes collected.

I thought that it was the “shiny stuff” that mattered the most to the athletes. My thinking started to shift when, in what proved to be a pivotal incident for me, I encountered a six-year-old athlete who clearly was more excited about the ice cream she was carrying than the swag of medals around her neck. You can read more about this incident here.

The Problem With Using Results As A Measure Of Youth Coaching Success

Grass roots youth coaches should not measure their success in the number of medals, trophies or titles that their athletes or teams win.

The youth coach who focuses too much on short term competitive results may resort to coaching methods and make decisions that are contrary to a sound long term athlete development model.

Their coaching may become coach-centred rather than athlete centred, which is clearly detrimental to the kids.

This is why we need a different – and I say better – measurement of a coach’s effectiveness.

What Is The Best Indicator of Grass Roots Coaching Success?

The best indicator of grass roots coaching success is that the kids want to keep coming back. It is as simple as that.

Youth Coaching Success = The Kids Want to Come Back

If the kids want to keep coming back, if they look forward to seeing the coach, if the coaching session is one of the kid’s favourite times of the week, the coach is doing a fine job.

If the kids love to come to practice and can’t wait to get there, above anything else that is what grass roots youth coaching is about.

Long term involvement – competitive or recreational – firstly requires an interest which develops into a passion. Facilitating this is one of the critical roles of a youth coach. The coaches who do this are doing a wonderful job. They are the really valuable ones. Why? Because the kids are getting the time and chance to fulfil their potential at whatever level that may be. They are not prematurely leaving the sport because of bad coaching.

Coach so that the kids come back.

So how does a coach get the kids to come back week after week? The coach needs to have a firm idea about what the athletes in their charge like about the sport, what they want from a coach and what excites them about coming to practice.  If a coach can match this and what they provide the kids, they will have a winning formula.

The Next Step

Coaches:

Start planning your sessions with the primary aim of getting the kids back the next week – and the next week after that. Take time to find out what “fun” means to your athletes. You might like to use a questionnaire to get to know your athletes. Your coaching will most likely become more athlete-focused – and better – as you become more sensitive to the kids’ needs.

Parents:

Start to take notice about how enthusiastic your child is about going to practice and working with the coach. Do they look forward to it? Are they excited about attending? Do they complain about having to go? These are the types of things that will give you a great indication about how successful the coach is being with your child.

Summary

Traditionally, a youth coach’s effectiveness has been measured by their competitive results. Let’s start giving greater recognition to the coach who inspires the kids to want to keep coming back.

Further reading

Articles:

Medals Are Not A Measure Of Youth Sports Success

How To Help Kids Love the Sport More Than the Medals

Early Sporting Success: Keep It In Perspective

Fun Tops the Charts for Young Athletes

22 Questions to Help You Get to Know A New Athlete

Books from Amazon:

7 Keys to Being a Great Coach by Allistair McCaw

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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 TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Instagram, Anchor or via email.

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