One fundamental aspect of coaching youth athletes is the fact that youth athletes are less focused and have much shorter attention spans than adults.
Therefore, complex information must be broken into smaller pieces such as simple exercises and drills.
Here are 3 techniques to help you when coaching young athletes:
1) BREAKS ARE KEY
While working on specific skills intersperse learning with fun or games. The breaks might consist of asking about aspects of their life or allowing them to show you “one of their tricks.”
2) DON’T BE AFRAID TO MOVE ON
If an athlete is not learning a skill properly, despite you repeating explanations and corrections, move on to another skill and pick up the previous one at the next training session. This prevents frustration and a negative association with learning that particular skill.
3) POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Youths thrive on positive reinforcement. Studies have shown the 5:1 ratio (5 positive comments for every 1 constructive criticism) is most effective.
Youths are still developing their sense of self and positive reinforcement is key.
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