What Are The Lessons Learned in Youth Sports?
Helping a child develop in youth sports is as much physical as it is emotional. There are so many things a player can learn by being involved in competitive situations such as sports. The following article is from an interview Executive Editor TK Stohlman conducted with Jim Johnson, founder and director of flexxCoach, on the subject of the lessons children learn through youth sports.
Stohlman: Jim, you’ve coached at all levels, recreational programs, youth competitive programs and pro sports. Can you discuss your philosophy on youth sports when it comes to the important lessons they teach young athletes?
Johnson: Absolutely! I think coaching youth sports is a tremendous responsibility. Kids look up to coaches as teachers and role models and they can be the biggest influence in a child’s entire life. They have an enormous job to teach young athletes about sportsmanship which includes a respect for the opponent.
In addition, it is important to teach respect for the team, coaches and officials. Officials are just like players at the youth level because they are trying to hone their skills and get better too. Practicing sportsmanship, to me, means practicing an attitude of respect. I think that is one of the best things we can give kids as they are learning. Good sportsmanship means that we teach kids character, integrity, class, dignity, respect, honor and humility. Those are good character traits to emulate.
Another component to this is the fundamental skills that are taught in youth sports. In addition to character development, the second goal of a youth coach should be to teach and develop broad base, fundamental skills. This means not even looking at winning versus skill development at the youth level. Just look at developing the broad base fundamentals skills. This is a key to helping young athletes feel good about themselves, which will build their self-worth and self-esteem. Sports provides an arena for self development to improve strengths and weaknesses in each and every player.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jim Johnson for this advice.
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