The Importance of a Coach in Youth Sports


Sports coaches are responsible for developing the skills of their athletes and allowing them to reach their full potential. They train, instruct, guide and assist in decision making. Yes, coaches are a lot like teachers, except on the playing field. With the time spent working with athletes and the mentorship role that coaches take on, they also fill roles like organizer, planner, demonstrator, motivator and chauffeur. No matter how skilled a team or individual may be, a coach is always needed.

Youth sports are a bit different than sports at a higher level. The play is more unstructured, and coaches tend to focus more on the basic techniques of the sport rather than the competitive, winning side. Coaches also practice equality and fairness. They encourage each child to have the same opportunities. This approach is what allows all kids, regardless of their skill level or abilities, to have the same foundation in the sport. The athletes can then use what they learned to further progress in the sport or try something new.

Attributes of a Great Youth Sports Coach

  • Focuses on individual improvement

  • Explains rules in simple, easy to understand language

  • Keeps practices fun, engaging and age-appropriate

  • Teaches one sport skill at a time

  • Learns the individual skills and personalities of each player

  • Good listener

  • Makes modifications for certain players when necessary

  • Displays good sportsmanship

  • Implements creativity and socialization

  • Communicates with the team

Sports are important for youth. They are fun, rewarding and encourage physical activity. Team sports also teach lifelong skills like listening, taking turns, working as a team and showing good sportsmanship. However, the coach can make or break an athlete, as well as your child’s experience with a sport. You can’t always control the coach your child has, but pay attention to this mentor, as it will clue you in to how your child is adapting to the sport and the overall team experience they are receiving.