It is often thought, particularly in the realm of youth sports, that a coach should have all of the answers for their players. While youth coaches are, of course, responsible for teaching players the fundamentals of their game and making positive impressions on them through their journey of athletics, it is often the questions that they ask which help young athletes to learn the most.
Every kid learns and grows at a different pace and in a unique way, so no matter how generally you lay out your approach to coaching, it will resonate differently with each individual. There are endless ways to help young athletes grow physically in group settings, but when it comes to the mental side of whichever sport you coach, bringing all of your players up to speed on the intangibles of the game is done best by asking questions that will further draw out their understanding. The best way to learn how each of your players learns individually is to coach through asking these questions, and take the time to understand their thinking.
Ask questions to help yourself better understand your players
Try following up your drills with questions that draw inquisition from each of your athletes. There is only so much time in every practice, so some of this will have to be done before group settings begin or conclude. If your plan is to push your best athletes to improve during practice so that all the others will work to meet your standard, you’ll have to be present in acknowledging which players need more attention from you. Rather than harping your knowledge on them and accepting their nodding along as genuine understanding, ask them questions that will force them to share what they know. This will open the door to you for further personalizing your training for each individual in the group, and creating a positive, successful learning environment for all.