JOHN HARBAUGH: Give young athletes something to talk about
By Greg Bach
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is a huge proponent of building confidence in athletes.
That goes for his players – and yours at the youth level, too.
“Building confidence in kids is one of the most important things,” Harbaugh says. “It’s no different here at our level. It’s important to build confidence in those guys, too.”
Use these tips from the Super Bowl winning coach and one of the game’s most respected leaders to help make it happen with your squads:
GIVE ‘EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
“Have a plan for each and every child,” Harbaugh says. “Make sure that when they walk off the field that day that they’re taking something positive and meaningful away that they can talk to their mom and dad about when they ask, ‘What did you do today?’ They can say, ‘I scored a touchdown’ or ‘I recovered a fumble’ or ‘I made a block.’ Whatever it is it’s important that they take something away that they did well.”
CREATING COHESIVE CULTURE
It’s important that athletes feel valued and appreciated, regardless if it’s in the NFL or a youth football program.
“It’s important to build the understanding of accountability,” Harbaugh says. “To make them know that they are important, to make them know that they mean something to the team and that their impact is going to have value on what the team does.”
So, make sure you’re communicating positive messages to players before, during and after practices.
The NFL guys appreciate hearing it.
And so do the younger ones suiting up in youth football.
Bowling Green football coach Mike Jinks on helping young athletes embrace roles, recognize responsibilities and be all in for the team
Dr. Jesse Michel, mental skills coordinator for the World Series Champion Houston Astros, on helping young athletes improve focus and concentration to perform at their best
University of Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery on the importance of sending players home in a positive frame of mind
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