Have-a-Ball Character Development Program
We need practical ways to bake character development into our youth sports programs. In this episode, I talk about one that I recently implemented in my own club and some of the ways that you can implement a similar program in yours. Being Intentional About Character DevelopmentDevelopment is a long game. It's not something that gets done in one session and it's not something that is already baked into and coaching licensing programs that I've taken yet. It's one thing to say that a character development program is already a natural byproduct of participating in youth sports, but it's another thing all together to say that we are being intentional about it. Sportsmanship is going to be learned by kids through participation in youth sports, for example. But the word Sportsmanship can be preceded by "good" or "bad." Kids are going to learn good sportsmanship and/or bad sportsmanship. Which is the one we want them to learn? How about respect. Kids will learn about respect for the Rules, Officials, Opponents, Teammates, and themSelves (ROOTS). But what will they learn? If yelling at referees is allowed, for example, then on the point of respecting referee's, the message is "we don't have to." The key to good coaching is being intentional about development. Whether we have a plan for developing foot skills and set plays, or a plan for developing transferable character skills, plans matter. Plans converted into action matter more. Let's talk about being intentional about practicing a character development program, and what that might look like on a soccer field. Please: support the show and join our community as a Patron through my Patreon pageCatch Them Doing Something Right!In the book, The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, the authors talk about this concept of "catching them doing something right." It's a play on words and it's meant to highlight a management approach meant to get the most out of employees, but I've found the concept works great on a sports training field. Basically, it requires us to know what we're looking for in terms of examples of positive behavior, then go on the hunt to find and reward that behavior. In practice, this concept behind this is pretty simple. Let's say we want to develop a players first touch into space. We build up a session plan with that theme and by the final open play activity (where you're no testing for knowledge), you notice a player who had a bad first touch has improved their first touch into space. Well, bingo! That's what you were looking for! You post practice huddle might include specific praise for that player, mentioning the action you noticed as evidence of improvement. Giving praise in a public way accomplishes two big things: * The player you're speaking with and about will know that you were watching and that you care. It'll make them feel good about themselves, and probably provoke a smile. * Everyone in earshot (players, other coaches, officials, and/or parents) will know what you're developing and can play an important role in supporting or promoting that development. The entire ecosystem is on notice, after your praise, of what really matters in your environment. Have-a-Ball Character Development ProgramWh...
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