Simply put, coaches love coachable athletes. Typically, they’re the ones on the team that can listen to the coach and do what he/she instructs. Sometimes, as a parent, we can be so busy helping our kids develop skills that we neglect the important characteristic of coachability. Ultimately, that may be the very trait that helps your child reach his or her full potential.
Coach your kids in youth sports to coachability with these five steps:
Encourage Their Desire for Learning
In Matthew Keller’s Key to Everything, he says that truly coachable people “never allow themselves to have an arrival mentality. They never think they have learned so much that they can’t improve themselves in some way.” In other words, they have the desire to keep learning. Are you feeding your child’s desire to learn and grow? You can do this by expanding his/her opportunities for growth, encouraging him/her to improve the abilities he/she does have, and nurturing his/her curiosity to learn more.
Give Them an Appropriate View of Success
Success can be a heavy load for young athletes to bear. Not only does it pressure them to perform during sports, but it threatens their growth by causing them to trust too much in their natural abilities. Subsequently, this will stop them from learning something new from teammates or coaches. Believe it or not, a healthy view of success doesn’t include the I’m awesome mentality. That’s because the viewpoint assumes that once they know something, they think they know it all.
Instead, teach your child to be just as concerned about team success as they are about individual achievements.
Show Them the Value of Being Open to Feedback
It’s a given that kids need to listen to their coach’s feedback, but what if they don’t want to listen? Often times, if the delivery isn’t received well or if it comes from a fellow teammate, who may or may not be as good as them, a young athlete can tune out completely. Help your child understand that if he/she truly wants to get better, he/she needs his/her teammates and coaches to show him/her see what he/she can’t see.
Applaud Their Flexibility
No, we’re not talking about the pre-game stretching, but another kind of flexibility!
As leaders and role models on the field, we need to applaud the type of flexibility that shows your child’s willingness to adapt to a situation.
Maybe it’s the new position he/she’s been asked to play or the new offense he/she’s learning, but any type of positive reassurance can help. Remind your child that being set in his/her ways is not going to help him/her improve as an athlete, and it definitely doesn’t help his/her team either.
Help Them Handle Failure Well
Everyone experiences failure, so the question is not “if,” but “when I do fall short, how will I handle it?” Your child can handle failure well by examining the situation to learn from it and by not letting it define him as an athlete. This will be challenging, but a vital lesson for becoming coachable, and for developing as a person.
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