Being a leader young athletes want to follow
By Greg Bach
Less than eight months ago Clemson knocked off Alabama 35-31 to win college football’s national championship in a thrilling duel in Tampa.
Clemson’s return to national prominence in recent years has been led by Dabo Swinney, recipient of the Bear Bryant Award as the national coach of the year the past two seasons.
We had the chance to ask Swinney about motivating kids, correcting mistakes, and more. See what one of the game’s most respected coaches had to say on these topics and use his insight as you coach your youth teams this season:
SPORTINGKID LIVE: How can coaches motivate kids to get the best out of them when there are so many different personalities to deal with?
SWINNEY: “The best way to motivate a young person is by being a good example. You can bring your teaching points home by being a coach that the young men respect. That includes how you present yourself on an off the field. If you ask players who played for successful programs they will tell you that they went the extra mile for a coach because they had respect for the man.”
SPORTINGKID LIVE: How can coaches correct poor techniques and mistakes that kids make during games without embarrassing them or hurting their confidence in the process?
SWINNEY: “There are ways to get your point across to a young man without embarrassing him. A coach’s demeanor is important certainly, and that point can be properly communicated by putting your arm on his shoulder. If it is at the end of a possession, retreating to the back of the bench in a less public manner can certainly help.”
SPORTINGKID LIVE: What is something a coach you played for instilled in you that you’ve never forgotten?
SWINNEY: “There is no substitute for great effort. That is something that was preached to us when I was a player at Alabama by our head coach Gene Stallings and by the assistants on his staff. And by giving great effort, it means more than just on the field in practice and in games. Giving great effort includes taking care of your body through nutrition, staying in shape and giving great effort in the classroom so you stay a part of the team so that when you are on the field you can give great effort.”
Olympic swimming great Dana Vollmer, winner of five gold medals, challenges coaches of all youth sports to find the most effective ways to motivate all their young athletes
Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman on empowering and inspiring young athletes
Antonio Pierce, Super Bowl champion and linebackers coach at Arizona State, on pinpointing motives and inspiring young athletes to be their best
Monique Henderson, Olympic track great and college coach, on chasing improvement one fun-filled step at a time