As a youth coach you have a greater impact on an athlete than any high-school or college coach ever will. If a young athlete has a bad experience, they may walk away from the sport. Youth coaches should be judged by how many of their players stay engaged and return the next year. That is a true measure of success.
The focus of our MRLL coaches should be on instilling a love for baseball (or softball) and developing the basic fundamentals necessary to play the sport as it was meant to be played. These, the most important aspects of the game, should never be compromised and serve as the basis for our player development model. A positive experience, age- and skill-specific instruction to build a foundation for future success trump individual successes and wins or losses.
As coaches, you determine the kind of experience our athletes have with sports. We are committed to the principles of Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). We expect all of our MRLL volunteer coaches to be a Double-Goal Coach, who strives to win (one goal), while pursuing the more-important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. PCA’s DoubleGoal Coach Job Description includes:
1) Model and teach your players to Honor the Game.
· Hold a parent meeting and distribute PCA’s Parent/Guardian Letter to help parents Honor the Game.
· Teach ROOTS – respect for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and one’s Self.
· Seize teachable moments to talk with players about Honoring the Game.
2) Help players pursue mastery of their sport, not just scoreboard wins.
· Teach players the ELM Tree of Mastery (Effort, Learning, and bouncing back from Mistakes).
· Use a “Team Mistake Ritual” (like “Flushing Mistakes”) to help players quickly rebound from mistakes.
· Reward effort, not just good outcomes. Recognize players even for “unsuccessful” effort.
3) Fill your players’ Emotional Tanks.
· Use encouragement and positive reinforcement as your primary method of motivating.
· Achieve the “Magic Ratio” of five positive reinforcements to each criticism or correction.
· Use the “Buddy System” to teach players to fill each others’ Emotional Tanks.
· Learn to give “Kid-Friendly Criticism,” such as criticizing in private, asking permission, using the Criticism Sandwich, and avoiding criticism in non-teachable moments.
4) Have conversations with your players at every practice and game.
· Review Honoring the Game, the ELM Tree and the Emotional Tank throughout the season.
· Ask questions and encourage players to speak and contribute during team meetings.
By adopting these philosophies and actions, we will contribute to a positive, character-building youth sports experience for all the children our organization serves. Thank you coaches for all your time and effort!