A few months ago I wrote an article about my five tips for new coaches. In tip #3, “You Still Have Practice,” I listed off my go-to resources for authors, speakers, blogs, and podcasts that I follow, and one of those was the Winning Youth Coaching podcast. Host Craig Haworth brings on a different coach for each episode from a variety of different backgrounds, sports, and specialities. I find his questions and his guests to bring a great blend of thoughtful discussion of youth coaching as well as actionable takeaways. After listing this as a resource, Craig contacted me and offered me to come on the show as a guest. So, here we go!
2:15: My background, athletic bio, and how I got into coaching
3:55: My accidental path into coaching
7:25: Coaching moments that I look back on and cringe
9:30: Challenges as a young coach and coaching peers
12:00: Tips for effective teaching to youths and any age
13:31: Specific drills for ground balls in lacrosse
15:15: 5 positives for every 1 negative?!?!
19:30: Developing self-confidence in youth athletes and an awesome parent story
23:00: Mental reset routines to encourage errors of aggression rather than errors of omission
24:20: Using the bench as a teaching tool (WYC Episode 52)
26:40: Developing a winning culture and establishing positive team culture
29:30: Why I love being a JV coach and using games as a “test”
31:50: “It’s easier to build strong children than broken men.” Should it be my goal to make a life-changing experience for every player I coach?
34:40: Why I don’t have a game or moment that keeps me up at night
36:12: Things I’ve shamelessly stolen from other coaches
38:20: A favorite coaching quote
41:00: Maintaining athletic identity as a coach
This is something I feel strongly about, and I think if I were to title the podcast, it would be “coach like an athlete.” I mean this in a few different ways. One is to consistently put yourself in your athletes’ shoes (or cleats or footstretchers) and think about your effect on them as a coach. Are your practices engaging and useful or are they a drudgery? Another is to treat your development as a coach just like you treated your development as an athlete, periodizing your year, as it were, around your active coaching seasons to emphasize learning new skills and expanding coaching ability. I consider my time spent prepping for practice to be my coaching practice. My athletes’ practice, then, is my coaching performance. A final point on this is to maintain some of your previous athletic identity as a coach. Many of my co-coaches at lacrosse still play men’s league lacrosse at a recreational level and one of my rowing co-coaches still races a dozen times a year at master’s regattas. I turned back to the iron and compete in strongman 1-2 times a year, which keeps me in shape, looking the part of a coach, and makes me more relatable to my athletes. After all, aren’t we all at practice because we love playing sports?
42:45: Don’t forget to play and have fun!