Coach Tip
Help your players establish and strive for stretch goals. Stretch goals are just beyond a player's reach but can be achieved with effort over time. The best stretch goals are set by the players themselves.
 
Coach Tip
Hold a Winner's Circle after each game where teammates take turns offering each other specific, truthful praise. You speak last and make sure to recognize any players who haven't been singled out.
 
Coach Tip
Catch players doing things right. This is harder than it sounds. You have to get into the frame of mind to ignore the little "wrong" things so you can reinforce players when they do the right things.
 
Coach Tip
When speaking to a small, young athlete bend from the waist or better yet, get down on one knee so you can see eye to eye...figuratively and literally.
 
Coach Tip
Set "Effort Goals" such as running hard for contested balls, in addition to outcome goals. In this way, over time, if players achieve the effort goals, they also will move toward achieving desired outcome goals, such as winning contested balls.
 
Coach Tip
Develop a written coaching philosophy. Write down a few things about what you value as a coach (e.g. talent development, having fun), and then write a paragraph designed to teach parents why your philosophy is so important to their children's education. Share this with the parents before the season.
 
Coach & Parent Tip
Commit to conducting yourself by a code, which Positive Coaching Alliance calls "Honoring the Game". To remember components of this code, remind yourself and your children that Honoring the Game means respecting the sport's ROOTS, where ROOTS stands for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.
 
Coach Tip
You may have to search hard for a truthful, specific praise for your weakest player, but resist the temptation to offer empty, unearned praise. You can always find something truthful and specific that is positive about what your players do.
 
Coach Tip
Use the Buddy System. Pair up your athletes during practice and challenge them to fill their buddy's emotional tank. You can make it a competition, and they can keep score of how many positive things they say to each other.
 
Coach Tip
Give your athletes a chance to officiate at practice to learn how hard the job of the official can be. Once they've experienced officiating, your athletes are more likely to respect officials in game situations who might miss a call.
 
Coach Tip
Maintain a "Magic Ratio" of five truthful, specific praises for every one specific, constructive criticism. It's called the Magic Ratio because when coaches get close to it, magical things happen with their players' performance.
 
Coach Tip
Create trigger words that become part of the team's vocabulary. In the heat of competition when there isn't time to go into detail, trigger words can communicate broader ideas. For instance, "elbow" can mean keep your elbow up when you swing; "gooseneck" conveys correct free throw shooting form; "four" says we'll win the 4th quarter because of our physical conditioning and mental toughness.
 
Coach Tip
Conduct a parent meeting as soon as possible after receiving your roster of players on your team. Use the meeting to explain your approach to coaching, learn what your athletes and parents want from their youth sports experiences and to set expectations for athlete and parent behavior in the coming season.
 
Coach Tip
Coaching your own child can offer some of life's greatest moments, though it requires a delicate balance between coaching and parenting. Make it clear to your child when you are in coach "mode". Be sensitive to favoring or penalizing your child.
 
Coach Tip
Have conversations with each player about his or her personal goals for the season. Don't discourage what seem like overly ambitious goals. Instead, help the player refine the goals. Together, identify the steps to take (and daily commitments) to work toward achieving the goals. When players buy in to the goals, rather than having them imposed, they will be more motivated to achieve them.
 
Coach Tip
Try using a Criticism Sandwich when you need to deliver constructive instruction - the bread slices on each end are truthful, specific positives and the criticism in the middle is constructive and instructional.
 

Let It Fly
 
The Magic 5:1 Ratio
 
Overzealous Parents
 
Coach Tip
Lead by example. When your players and their parents see you keep your temper in check, for example, when an official misses a call, they are more likely to check their own tempers.
 
Coach Tip
Help your players establish and strive for stretch goals. Stretch goals are just beyond a player's reach but can be achieved with effort over time. The best stretch goals are set by the players themselves.
 
Coach Tip
Seize teachable moments. Use examples from pro or college sports to illustrate your points both about effort and sportsmanship.