Elements of Coaching

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s that time of year. People are talking about coaches.

Five NFL football coaches fired. New coaches in process of being hired. And things are heating up in college basketball. Which coaches have what it takes to get their team ready to make a run in the big dance? And of course…there are the coaches that matter the most…those of our sons and daughters!

I had a couple of conversations about coaching yesterday myself.  Context: I coach two junior high basketball teams.  I love coaching this age.  I’ve coached a handful of soccer teams and these two teams are somewhere around my 25th and 26th middle school basketball squads.

One of the two teams is a 7th grade school team where I serve as the assistant coach. The other is a church league middle school team where a father and a high school senior help me out.  One of yesterday’s conversations was with that senior student’s father. “He does really well. And he ‘gets’ the intangibles of coaching. I appreciate how the very first day he took time to learn every name and something about each boy.  There are a lot of college coaches that still haven’t understood how important relationships are to successful coaching.”

The other conversation was with a friend who was asking me questions about how I coach.  We had a fun conversation, but one of the things the friend focused in on was that I try to give each student a manageable, inspiring, concrete goal for each game, or part of a game.  That way every student can contribute every game to the success of the team while having a string of personal successes along the way.

Moving beyond middle school basketball…coaching is a great metaphor for youth ministry.  From practice to game time, from set plays to organic improvisation, from knowing your team to reading the opponent, from sideline encouragement to 30 second timeouts, coaching is rich with images that help us be intentional in how we connect successfully with young people.

What are some of the elements or components of coaching that you have used or seen successful in connecting with teens?  When and how were you coached well?

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