Young athletes don’t become leaders overnight, but as a coach, you can help them to learn more about being good leaders. Leadership skills will benefit the team, but more importantly, learning these skills will help young athletes excel in their sport and be of great value to them throughout their lifetime.
Though some players have natural leadership skills, all young athletes have room to grow when it comes to being true leader. There are a few things that you can do as a coach to help your players to become better leaders.
Lead By Example
First and foremost, do your best to be a great leader. There is nothing better than leading by example. Be a positive role model. Encourage your team through the good and the bad times. Set expectations. Be organized. Use open and honest communication. Listen to them. Build trust. Show sportsmanship. And don’t be afraid to do the little things, like sweep the gym floor or set up the soccer nets. Delegate what you can, but if needed, show that you will do whatever it takes to help the team.
Talk To Your Players About Leadership
Take the time to talk to your athletes about what it takes to be a leader. Leadership is not the same for everyone. There are different leadership styles. Two obvious types are those who lead by example and those who are vocal leaders. Both can be powerful and if you have players who are a combination of the two, watch out.
Talking to each player about their strengths can help build confidence. Talking to your team and letting them know what they are capable of can make a huge difference. For example, a shy player may feel reassured that their hard work is recognized as being a good example and may feel more comfortable speaking out to help the team.
Talk to your team about leadership. Set expectations and ask them to self-reflect on ways they can become a better leader and help the team.
- Be Positive
- Work Hard
- Set A Good Example
- Encourage teammates
Emphasize The Importance Of Team
At first glance, this may not seem like it would teach leadership, but a true leader needs to understand that if they connect with each individual and help make that person to improve, the team will be stronger.
Set the expectation that your players connect with one another. Have them give high-fives when things are going good and support one another if mistakes are made. When players learn to encourage one another, they are learning a positive leadership skill that will help them beyond their time in sports.
Give Athletes The Opportunity To Lead
What better way to learn about being a leader than to actually lead? Throughout the season, allow players to take different leadership roles. Give them responsibilities for making decisions or setting goals. Put them in charge of activities. It may be as simple as being responsible for gathering the players to start warm-ups each day, on time, or as complicated a organizing a team-building activity. Allow them to grow by getting their feet wet in leadership roles.
You will have leaders who stand out on your team. They man be captains, but they may not. You may be surprised. Help your players to learn more about leadership and improve their leadership skills. It will go a long way in making your team better as well as helping your athletes acquire important skills that will last a lifetime.