Coaching Recreational Sports Vs. Competitive Leagues
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Coaching in youth sports designated as "recreational" is different than coaching in programs deemed "competitive." In recreational and development leagues, coaches often have just one practice per week with their teams. This necessitates careful practice planning that should lean heavily toward teaching and filling players’ Emotional Tanks. At this level, parents often have the skills and ability to help out at practices and games, and coaches should encourage them to do so.
At the highly skilled and competitive levels, everything, including practices, can get more intense, particularly when college recruiting and scholarships become part of the mix. Hence, it becomes even more important in practice to emphasize that sports are a time to have fun! Elite-level athletes tend to play their mistakes over and over in their heads, and they need to be reminded of what they are doing well. It would not hurt to remind them that athletes who are enjoying themselves and who are not inhibited by the fear of making mistakes actually perform better.