A parent recently passed along to me this great article about the power of positive coaching in youth sports. Positive Coaching Alliance, a modest sized organization is highlighted in the article. P.A.C. is working to spread the message that youth sports is about giving young athletes a positive, character-building experience ― not to become major league athletes, but to become “major league people.”
For me, coaching isn’t just about teaching the fundamentals and mechanics of fastpitch softball. It’s about building confidence in young girls. It’s about allowing them to make mistakes and do something better the next pitch. It’s about them building long-lasting friendships with their teammates. And it’s about teaching them how to win and lose gracefully.
“People often think that youth sports is simple, but it’s actually very complex,” says founder of Positive Coaching Alliance Jim Thompson. “The symbolism of sports is so powerful.”
“He came up with the ‘ELM Tree of Mastery’ to help coaches remember that the feedback that most helps young athletes develop their potential is not praise for good performance or criticism for bad performance.What works best is helping children understand that they control three key variables: their level of Effort, whether they Learn from experiences, and how they respond to Mistakes.”
This is so important. In fact, my currents students often hear me say, “Control the controllables!” I’ll say, “Can you control the umpire? Can you control your teammates? Can you control the rude cheers the other team yells from their dugout?” No. But you can control how you present yourself on the mound, how you talk to your teammates, and how you react after a terrible call.
Here is part two of the article. Enjoy!