Disruptive Kids Who Make Running Practice Difficult
This resource is from a case study in Jim Thompson’s book, The Power of Double-Goal Coaching.
Disruptive Kids: Some of your players have short attention spans and frequently disrupt team conversations and drills. Most players pay attention and do what you ask but seem as frustrated as you. As a Double-Goal Coach®, what can you do?
Every coach at every level has players who misbehave, goof off, or lack focus during practice. Here are three basic principles for shaping the behavior of your players.
1.) Reinforce desired behavior. As strange as it may seem, yelling at a kid can reinforce inappropriate behavior. Give attention to kids when they do what you want. Thank those who respond right away: “Artemio, Jalmer, Nico, thanks for hustling in!” Tie their cooperation to the team’s success and make this a part of your practice plan. “With limited practice time, it really helps when you come right away!”
2.) Ignore undesired behavior. Vic didn’t come when you called, so ignore him. Until he does what you want, Vic doesn’t exist. When Vic realizes he can’t get your attention by misbehaving, he’ll likely try to get it by complying. When he does, reward him: “Vic, thanks for doing what I asked!” This tends to work like magic, but not always, so read on.
3.) When you can’t ignore, intervene in a least-attention manner. Sometimes you can’t ignore behavior – a player may put herself in danger or disrupt your practice – so intervene in a “least-attention manner.”
To read the full response with more information on how to handle challenging players, download the book excerpt found below.
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