How to Develop Young Players

Just how can coaches ensure that they are doing everything possible in giving the opportunity for youngsters to fulfil their talent?

Below are a series of tips that will allow coaches to give young athletes the best possible chance of flourishing in their particular sport and reaching their potential, whatever this may be.


  1. Understand Your Players

Coaches must ensure that they know their players, as this will allow them to tailor an approach which best suits their needs. Whether an individual is an introvert or extrovert, it is important to make youngsters feel comfortable at all times. So, for those who are more outgoing, asking them to demonstrate a particular skill in front of the rest of the team is likely to be a chance that they jump at, whilst players who are shyer will not enjoy answering questions in front of their teammates.


  1. Ask Questions

Whilst some won’t enjoy being put on the spot, asking questions and for feedback is an important part of the development of youngsters. Whether it be asking them why they moved into a certain position on the pitch or to explain a particular piece of skill, be sure that they fully understand exactly why they are carrying out all actions.


  1. No Wrong Answers

When dealing with young athletes, there are no wrong answers. Coaches should take on board all answers, before potentially offering different solutions or better options to those suggested. So, in the instance of an incorrect answer being given, be sure not to simply come out with a rash statement, instead suggesting an alternative or opening the question up to the rest of the group.


  1. Offer Praise

Those who perform a skill well or show even a small sign of improvement should receive praise. In doing so, coaches must focus solely on the part in which they have done well, rather than also offering suggestions as to where they can do better in the future. Doing so can completely negate the positivity in which you kicked off with.


  1. Allow for Mistakes

At a young age, trial and error is perhaps the most effective form of learning, with this also being true on the sports field. Whilst consistent mistakes can be frustrating for coaches, allowing players to do so is key in the long run. Praising the positives even when mistakes are made is key, as well as demonstrating where improvements can be made. This point also goes back to the fact that coaches must understand players, as this will allow them to understand just how individuals react to feedback. Constantly addressing players when mistakes are made will likely stifle the flair that is inside them.

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