Building a youth sports program isn’t easy. Kids are already less interested in athletics these days and many schools are finding themselves under resourced.
It’s an uphill battle. But it’s an important battle to fight. Sports play a vital role in helping kids develop both physically and psychologically and too many kids are dropping out too early in the process. You can do your part to change this.
Here are four ways that you can improve your youth sports program:
Winning is great, but it shouldn’t be your primary goal when developing your program. It should be about helping your student-athletes become the best version of themselves. Self-discipline, honesty, teamwork, leadership. These are the traits that you should be emphasizing, as they will lead to your athletes becoming real winners off the court.
You think kids are scared of failure? Just take a look at the parents of some student-athletes. At games they are constantly at the edge of their seat, wondering whether their child is going to win or lose. Succeed or fail. Students pick up on this all too easily and it does nothing but hamper their development. Failure is a natural part of the learning process and it should be treated as such — by coaches and parents especially. As a coach, you need to make sure you’re giving your athletes the opportunity to fail. Put your fantastic athletes in challenging situations and don’t bench less developed athletes out of misguided fear for them. They’ll never learn that way.
Too many athletics departments are run like dictatorships. What the coach or department head says goes. No questions asked. Of course, no one is saying that you need to implement every idea that pops into a students head, but why not at least involve them in a program that is ostensibly about them? You’d be surprised at the kind of clever suggestions you can get, even from younger students. Things that may exist in a blind spot for you may be much more evident to the student-athletes who are actually out there on the court every day.
Constraints on budget, space, and time are common in sports at all levels. You may not have unlimited resources, but it is possible to make the most of what you have. You just have to get creative with your use of space and how you allocate your budget. This involves trying new things and not just sticking to your old routine of running the same drills at the same time on the same equipment.
360 Hoops is a new basketball mechanism that can aid you in the training and development of your student-athletes. It does this while also working within whatever constraints your school is facing. Have space issues? With three goals and roughly the same footprint as a regular hoop, you can get more students on the court and practicing at one time. It’s also great for keeping students interested during physical education classes, as the 360 Hoops opens up the door to a number of interesting twists on common games and exercises.