Different kinds of kids require different kinds of coaching

I think one of the most often overlooked areas (and most IMPORTANT) of teaching/coaching is being an adaptive teacher/coach.

In my eyes a “good” coach must be willing to adapt not only his playbook but his own coaching personality, not just year to year but from kid to kid.

There are a great number of personality types for kids, and this must be dealt with by being able to communicate with/to them in different ways.  I think one of my greatest strengths as a coach is my ability to deal with, relate to, and speak with the kids.  This may stem from my closer proximity in age compared to most of the guys i coach with, or maybe it is just my personality.  Either way I have always felt I can connect to the kids.

A teacher once told me that what makes a coach a GREAT coach isn’t when a kid listens to you, or fears you, it is when a kid WANTS to do good for YOU. This message struck me and has stayed with me.  Many coaches motivate by screaming, yelling, and wagging there finger, but does this make the kid play hard for you, to do well in your eyes? Or is he playing to not get yelled at anymore?

I often see coaches locked into one personality type, either stern, unfriendly, dictator style, some are screamers, some are too nice, an effective, adaptive coach can do it all.

I know for example, there are some kids I can yell at, that yelling motivates them and pushes them to excel, while there are others that if I yelled at them in the same way simply couldn’t handle it.  They need to be pulled aside, talked to more calmly, and they will be more successful.  Some kids self implode with the pressure/fear that comes from the yelling, and some kids just can not be yelled at, they shut you out, and quit on you.

As a coach, we must learn our kids, just as we ask them to learn our playbooks.  Better understanding how each kid works, thinks, and learns will only increase your ability to coach them up to reaching their full potential.

This isn’t true of just football either.  I have been a Varsity HC in both boys and girls volleyball.
My knowledge of volleyball is basic at best, but I have had a relatively great amount of success in volleyball because I understand how to motivate my kids and get the most out of them at practice and in games.

If what you do works for you that is fine, but everything I have written above I truly believe in and I think it is something we as coaches all need to look ourselves in the mirror about.


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