While approaches may vary, good youth fitness coaches aim to achieve similar goals. Coaches strive to help children develop self discipline, leadership skills, a sense of teamwork, and confidence. Establishing these attributes during formative years builds a foundation that will have a lasting impact on children’s lives.
The influence a youth fitness coach can have on a child is profound. Negative experiences with a challenging coach can encourage self doubt, low self esteem and emotional despair causing children to be wary of fitness activities. But if the relationship is supportive and encouraging, a strong bond is established and children develop a healthy and positive association with fitness and exercise and build memories that will last a lifetime.
There are many inspiring leaders out there. Here are 3 qualities we look for in a youth fitness coach. We call them The 3 P’s: Positivity, Patience & Passion.
A coach’s attitude sets the tone and positive communication will create an environment in which kids feel safe and encouraged which ultimately builds trust. When trust is established, coaches are able to more effectively offer support when kids are basking in victory but also when dealing with defeat. It’s important that children learn to lose with humility but also win gracefully. Language – both spoken words and body language – contributes greatly to forming a strong relationship between coach and child. Positive reinforcement when delivering feedback is extremely important and will encourage a child’s success.
Indeed a virtue! Especially when working with children as things often do not go as planned. When adults have a bad day, we’re usually still able to show up for that exercise class, listen to the instructor and let off some steam. Not so easy for young people. Children don’t always have that ability and their emotional state can hold them back at times. A good coach is sensitive to the needs of individuals and takes time to recognize that each child is motivated by different things. A good coach understands that every child really wants to do their best and that child development in not linear, but a windy path that must be tailored to a child’s unique sensitivities.
Having fun is contagious! If a coach is enjoying an activity its likely the kids they work with are also having fun. Being passionate about what you are teaching and bringing excitement into each session are ways to keep kids engaged. If passion exists from the
beginning, good coaching skills should always be evolving. There are wonderful organizations, such as the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), that exist to help those involved in youth and high school sports & recreation to create a positive, character-building youth sports culture. They provide tools for coaches, other school leaders and parents so that the culture created within a community is a combined effort. Good coaches evolve. They continually strive to improve their skills that will encourage children to have healthy, happy experiences with fitness and sports, building the foundation for a lifelong positive association with healthful activities.
Coaches are influential and have the opportunity to create supportive, respectful environments where children can learn and develop while having fun.