The challenges of coaching change dramatically depending on the age of your team, but the information here should be appropriate to all but the oldest and most competitive teams. Because you will have kids that are chronologically the same age, but not necessarily biologically the same, coaching requires more than just skills and drills. It requires sensitivity, discipline, respect, communication and above all a good sense of humor. Here are some basic goals to strive for when coaching your team.
For teams less than 12 years old, focus on teaching the basic skills. Introduce ‘finesse’ skills slowly and one at a time, all the while ensuring that the basic skill is still being performed correctly.
Encourage and praise the performance of the team and the individual players, not so much on winning and losing. Many younger teams won’t even know what the score was, so why remind them? A “Team Talk” after every practice and game is a great way to communicate with the team AND individual players.
Respect every child, and they will develop respect for you.
Challenge yourself to have every kid experience some level of success at every practice and game. Let them know that you are proud of them for their effort, accomplishment, concentration, discipline etc…
Try to use skill development exercises and drills that foster teamwork and cooperation, not competition amongst the players. You’ll have enough trouble with this without encouraging it further.
Talk to the parents. They can do wonders to UNDO everything you try to teach if you don’t communicate your expectations of the team and their child with them.