A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
N.Y. Giants coach Ben McAdoo: 3 ways to be a better youth coach today
By Greg Bach
When it comes to your practices, you want sessions that are challenging, entertaining and – of course – productive.
If you’re hitting those areas your players’ learning will speed up, their skill development will flourish and they’ll love participating.
We sat down with New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for an exclusive one-on-one interview to get his take on making it happen at the youth level. Use his tips to become a better volunteer coach today:
MAKING PRACTICE A CAN’T MISS EVENT
“I think you need to make practice an event,” McAdoo says. “It needs to be entertaining for kids.”
With all the other activities and distractions pulling at kids’ attention these days you’ve got to find ways to make your practices can’t-miss events.
“I think what you can do is play a little music out there and give kids input in the music you are playing,” McAdoo says. “And teach them fundamentals that way while changing the type of music you’re playing with each period of the practice.”
Choose players each practice to make those music selections. Just be sure that if you go that route that every player gets an opportunity to make selections during the course of the season.
BALANCING OUTPUT VS. INPUT
Volunteer coaches understandably have a lot of great information to share with their players, and that requires talking and instructing.
But it’s also important to spend time listening to what players have to say, too.
“Communication is a big part of coaching and it’s important to make communication a two-way street,” McAdoo says. “It’s about not always being on output as a coach but being on input as well.”
ENERGY, ENTHUSIASM, EFFORT
When coaches bring energy and enthusiasm to practices and games there is a pretty good chance it’s going to rub off on their players, too.
“The key is to lift them up with your energy,” McAdoo says. “Your energy is contagious and the players will feel that.”
And that sets the tone for a productive practice or game day performance.
Says McAdoo: “When you’re coaching young players and you’re coaching young kids you want to get them out there, see them enjoy the game and have them compete for the entire game.”
Sending kids home after practice with positive messages fuels confidence and passion for the sport. See how Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery makes it happen with his team and adopt his approach to benefit your players, too
Troy Calhoun, the head football coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy, on helping young athletes learn, improve and savor competing
Press Box Signup Form
Press Box (weekly e-newsletter)
The Press Box is a weekly e-newsletter bringing you the latest news stories in youth sports, research on youth athlete safety and wellness, and more. Stories are carefully curated to bring subscribers only the best quality content and news.