A National Alliance for Youth Sports resource helping coaches, parents and administrators provide the best youth sports experiences for children.
EXIT STRATEGY: Are you ending practices the right way?
By Greg Bach
University of Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery puts a lot of emphasis on ending practices the right way, every day.
He wants his players – every single one of them – taking positive messages with them as they’re exiting the field.
And he reminds his staff every day to make sure it happens.
“What I talk to our coaches about each and every day is making sure that as we’re leaving the field – especially the kid who you had to get on multiple times in practice – I want them to go put their arm around that kid’s neck and I want them to tell him something good that he did that day,” Montgomery says. “So many times they’re walking off the field and they’re leaving with negative feelings and I want to make sure that the last thing they remember as they walk off the field is something positive that our coaches have found.”
There are lots of options to choose from: it could be the player’s work ethic, the energy he competes with, the way he encourages teammates or the improvement he’s made learning a new skill.
“You can find something positive every day to say to each and every kid,” Montgomery says. “He may have had his worst practice ever but you can tell him, ‘Hey, I see that you are trying, I see that you are working hard and not loafing.’ Find something positive to say about that young player.”
Regardless of the youth sport that you coach, apply Montgomery’s approach to your team to help forge a more confident group of players.
When youngsters head home with positive messages from their coach instead of negative thoughts swirling in their head because they didn’t perform as they had hoped, they’ll likely return for the next practice with more energy and enthusiasm.
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