The “Over-Coaching” effect and what kids lose when they don’t have fun

Backyard Sports Timeout

Backyard Sports Timeout – Where our coaches field parents’ questions about Team Sports and offer ways to make it the Fun, Enriching Experience it’s supposed to be

Q: Our son is in elementary school and he loves playing basketball with friends in our driveway. We encouraged him to join the basketball program at school, but it’s not quite what we expected. There are a lot of coaching drills, but little “free-play” and this is frustrating our son who just wants to play. Do you think our child may not be ready for an organized team sport?

A: It’s a great question. The truth is, we need to approach coaching in the reverse order. When kids are young they should be exploring. That’s the time when they should be developing creativity. As a child reaches the upper grades, especially high school, and wants to take his sport skills to the next level, that’s when you really need a coach. That’s when the value of a coach’s guidance is key, because he can bring the athlete’s ability to a level that could not be achieved alone.

The main reason why parents are so critical of coaches when their child is in high school is because our sports model in the US involves so much coaching from the get-go. The idea of an iconic coach doesn’t exist anymore because kids have had so many coaches over a long development process.

soccer player

Here’s an example: Although it’s popular internationally, soccer has never broken through to an elite level in the United States the way it has in Europe or South America. Why not? Because in the US we put too much emphasis on drills and coaching. Conversely, in Europe and South America, the kids are not coached; they are left to basically dance with a soccer ball. The idea of watching an American youth program play freely or play with that sense of exploration and creativity doesn’t exist. Our kids are thrown into laps and lines at a very, very young age and they don’t know how to play naturally.

The Big Takeaway: Sports is about playing freely and bringing a group of individuals together cohesively. The coach is responsible for creating that environment. The players’ job is to learn to love the game and athletically express themselves at a very high level.

Backyard Sports provides weekend and after school sports instruction and game play for boys and girls ages 4-16 years old. Our programs are designed for EVERY child who desires a positive and healthy sports experience. #CompetitiveSportsDoneRight

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