Sunday, August 20, 2017

Choosing the Best Coach For You

November 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Pick My Brain

Choosing the best coach for your child can be very difficult for parents, especially if they have not been involved in sports  themselves.  So, what is a coach? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a coach is one who instructs or trains: one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy.

To me a coach is much more. A coach can also be a mentor, a friend, a substitute parent, or a life coach. Choosing this person to work with your child is a very important decision.

First, you must realize that there is a difference between a teacher and a coach. A teacher instructs athletes on the techniques necessary to perform the elements required, a very important part of your game. However, as good as this person is at giving you the “how to” they may not have the skills to help you perform to your fullest potential in a pressure situation.  Many times these two overlap, but  be aware of the limits that some teachers might have.

Begin by setting realistic goals for your athlete. Are you planning to do this sport simply as recreation or are you striving to be a high level competitor?  Recreational skaters may only need someone there a few times a week to teach them basic techniques. Children deciding to go the to competition route need someone with more coaching experience, someone who really knows what makes them tick.

Research the coaches available in your area. Examine their credentials and observe the manner in which they treat their students. Coaches seem to have a style or temperament  in the way they work . Some are soft spoken and friendly while others take on a more authoritative approach. The best coaches can read a particular athlete’s behavior and adjust their teaching accordingly. Credentials are a good starting point, however, an accomplished athlete may not know how to teach what they can do so well. The other scenario is also true. Someone who was perhaps not recognized in their sport may have taken more steps in his own learning and may have a lot to offer in terms of coaching.

Consider these pointers when looking for a coach:

1) Research the coaches in your area by talking to facility directors, parents of their students ( if you respect their opinions) and by observing their students in the lesson.

2) Talk to the coaches you are considering and be honest about what your expectations are. Listen to what the coach has to say about his philosophy of teaching and coaching.

3) Determine if the coach you are considering has the qualifications necessary to attain your goals. Sometimes this person fits into the scheme of things now but may only have the knowledge to take you to a certain level. That’s ok as long as everyone agrees.

4) A strong foundation is the key to any sport, so start your child out on the right foot by truly understanding who is teaching them their basics or fundamentals.

5 ) Make sure that the coach has all the necessary licenses and insurance. Make sure they are ethical and have a good reputation.

Your child will spend a lot of time with their coach and you want that person to reflect your values and beliefs. They should be someone you can talk to freely and feel comfortable asking their advice. Most importantly, your child should be happy and enjoy being with this coach because they treat them with respect and see them as the person they truly are.

Good luck!

-Ilona

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