Think back. Can you remember your win/ loss record when you were playing U-12 sports? I'm going to assume that you probably can't. We, as youth coaches, need to set aside our need to win in order to emphasize the proper technical mastery of our respective sports. Let me share something with you that you already know: how to win youth sports is different from how to win higher level sports (varsity, college, club, etc.). Typically, the youth team with the fastest runners, the tallest players or the strongest hitters won more competitions. Because of this, youth coaches highlight those physical disparities to win more games and neglect inclusive skill training because 'winning is the objective' (think of a soccer player at 12 years old who never learned first touch or footwork because he or she scored a lot of goals with speed alone... this kid's coach is the one who yells "send it" or "boot it" for most of the match). As we all know, most physical attributes tend to even out post-puberty and wins & losses at higher levels are more dependent on performance-related deficiencies resulting from the neglect mentioned above. Some examples include:
Most coaches would agree that the welfare of our athletes is a top priority. It's important then, with that in mind, that we forfeit some of our youth sports victories to better prepare our athletes for varsity, college and (possibly) pro levels of play. So get rid of the youth sports trophy case and focus on developing your young athletes. The results will be worth it!
Training priorities for young athletes should be:
Are we overthinking it? Did we miss something? We'd love to chat more about this! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org