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.”
Miles Simon – former youth basketball coach, current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach and the Most Outstanding Player at the 1997 Final Four in leading Arizona to the national championship – shares tips for helping your young players have a rewarding season
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on teaching young athletes the value of leading, working together and supporting everyone on the team
Traci Callahan, professional beach volleyball player and youth coach, on the value of providing honest feedback to young players to forge connections, drive development and deliver rewarding seasons
During these unprecedented times coaches still play an all-important role in their young athletes’ lives. Use these tips from well-known psychologist Dr. Peter Scales to stay connected, involved and help players be ready once seasons resume.