At this point in the year, as we cross the half-way mark in Term 2 and look towards the toughest stage of the season, I think it’s important for coaches and parents to take a step back and reflect. Throughout the course of the season, parents and coaches alike will experience everything from joyful euphoria to a lack of patience and, at times, frustration. Consciously acknowledging the existence and probability of impulsive displays of emotion is a crucial first step towards safeguarding our players from the negative effects it can have.
As coaches, and parents, it’s imperative that we recognize and remind ourselves that, above all else, we must:
A – have patience for the process
It’s easy to lose patience when it comes to Long-Term Player Development; by its very nature, it’s a lengthy process. At first, when a player takes up a particular sport, we have plenty of patience, we expect them to make mistakes and we don’t get too caught up in our own emotions when they win or lose. However, as we invest more of our time and money into the process, our expectations begin to rise; and when the expectations rise, oftentimes, patience begins to dwindle.
For me, I come from a family of ex-players so I understand what it feels like for a kid to be burdened by pressure and expectations, intentional or unintentional. Similarly, though, I’ll be the first person to admit that, in my early days as a young coach, I was guilty of expecting too much and being overly intolerant of failure and mistakes. So, to break the cycle, a change is in order. That change, is a collective and conscious effort, from KIKOFF coaches and parents, to promote a very simple ethos to our young players: –
“Failure is not fatal and doers make mistakes”
B – have high expectations for the right things
For me, the qualities I expect from a player in a practice session, or a match, are the same qualities I would expect from him/her off the pitch: –
- Don’t whine, don’t complain and don’t make excuses. We can agree to disagree on many things, but we don’t need to be disagreeable.
- Whatever you do, just get out there and do it to the best of your ability – no one can ask more of you than that.
- Endeavour to never be late, to always be respectful and to never criticize a team-mate at practice or games.
- Focus on things which are under your control; never try to be better than someone else, instead, always attempt to learn from others and never cease trying to be the best that you can be.
- Take great pride in your character, endeavour to be different and set the standard for others in your company. Manners will open many doors in your life that other qualities may not.
Moving forward, let us hold all of our players accountable for the right things.
Adam Davidson | Technical Director