Coaching Youth Sports: Technique vs. Success

For any youth sports coach, effectively teaching and communicating with young athletes is often a case-by-case study. Regardless of age or gender, coaches need to be willing to utilize differing approaches in order to help children develop the necessary understanding and skills that pertain to each sport. Despite that need for voluntary variance, there is certainly room for individualism when it comes to coaching philosophy. 

For example, there are some coaches who believe technical ability should be emphasized at an early age. However, there is a contrarian approach that sees coaches place success, no matter how it is obtained, as paramount to fostering a love for sports. Fortunately for both ways of thinking, there are advantages to each methodology. 

Technique vs. Success

While these approaches are exhibited throughout nearly all of athletics, the sport that perhaps best reflects the differences between valuing success versus valuing technique is football. At an early age, catching a football is a difficult task. When you combine the size, speed and trajectory of a thrown football with the small hands and arms, and developing coordination of a young athlete, catching a football consistently could be a struggle. 

To alleviate those difficulties, coaches that emphasize technical skills would work on catching the ball with proper hand and arm placement. According to USA Football, the three basic elements to catching are proper hand position, concentrating on the ball and seeing it into your hands by reaching out so you can see both of your hands and the ball at the moment of the catch. 

On the flip side, some coaches may bristle at the notion of hammering home sentiments that may fall on the deaf ears of players who lack the requisite hand-eye coordination. For young athletes just beginning to learn how to catch a football, coaches that believe in the value of success may suggest catching the ball with the aid of their body. If young athletes are unable to consistently catch the ball solely with proper hand technique, then coaches could suggest opting for means that make receiving passes considerably easier. 

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