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Youth Coaching Content is More Important Than Decibels

“You never realize the value of coaching until your children play for a coach.” – Coach Don Meyer

Nearly everyone has been to youth sports events where parents complain bitterly about how loud their child’s coach is. Some youth coaches are very loud, seemingly overly enthusiastic and many times annoying, especially to parents of young athletes. Parents should be counseled that it isn’t the decibel level that is important but the content of what the coach is saying. As one youth sports mother stated in a blog, there are “good loud” and “bad loud” coaches (we have all probably witnessed too many examples of “bad loud” coaches). There are also variations of what is defined as “loud” according to sport (wrestling is typically louder than tennis), physiological differences (some people’s voices carry more than others), geographical location (what is considered loud in Minneapolis might not be seen the same way in the South or on the East Coast), and ethnicity (certain ethnic groups tend to be more verbal than others),

The “good loud” coaches:

  • gain the trust of their players by being relentlessly positive in their instructions so that young athletes realize that they are “being yelled to” and not being “yelled at”.
  • ask that the player’s attitude, effort and attention be focused on learning the sport, having fun and being a good teammate (this has to done in an age-appropriate way).
  • allow their athletes to play during games without micromanaging their every move. Coach John Wooden, college basketball’s most successful coach believed, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” Athletes really learn the game by making their own mistakes without coaches intervening.
  • present themselves not as professional coaches but as teachers who instruct and encourage their team to compete and then win with humility and lose with grace.
  • have the respect of their players so they can quickly (and in a non-threatening way) stop negative behavior that is destructive to individuals or the team or could actually present a danger to their athletes.
  • set an example for their team (and the parents) by not questioning the calls of officials and by never allowing the rules to be violated or bent to their team’s advantage.
  • understand when to modulate their voices to quietly speak to players individually without spectators, the other team or the players’ teammates listening in.

“Good loud” coaches can also serve to drown out or discourage the “bad loud” parents and other spectators.

The reverse is also true at youth games, where parents (mostly dads) complain that their child’s coach is too quiet – never says a word during a game and is too passive. These parents accuse their child’s coach of being incompetent and wasting the child’s time because of inadequate knowledge of the sport or the demands of youth coaching. Those parents need to learn that there is “good quiet” and “bad quiet” and until you attend multiple practices you cannot make an informed judgment. If a parent confirms their suspicion about a “bad quiet” coach, they can either volunteer to help or go to their youth sports organization and strongly urge that their child’s coach be given more education and support.

Whether your child’s coach is loud or quiet or something in between, the Trusted Coaches “Double Goal” Coaching program can give your child’s coach the cutting edge tools to enhance their coaching skills. The program teaches youth coaches how to provide a sports experience that emphasizes positive growth, sportsmanship and the pure joy of sport, whether delivered in a loud or a quiet voice.

The rest of the Trusted Coaches program screens and trains your child’s coach about how to keep children safe on the field of play. The Trusted Coaches program allows your youth sports administrators to effortlessly manage your youth coach’s screening and education. Now that’s something to cheer about, either loudly or quietly – whichever you prefer.