What is the first question that people often ask youngsters when they see they’re wearing a football uniform bearing dirt and grass stains?
“Did you win?”
At times we tend to put scoreboard results ahead of what America’s favorite sport teaches and represents. Responsible Coaches care about the score, but they care more about instilling lessons which help kids win throughout their lives.
A simple acronym to remember is ELM – Effort, Learning and Mistakes:
Effort – always give 100%
Learning – improve constantly as you gain more knowledge
Mistakes – they’re okay, mistakes are how we learn
When coaches focus solely on the scoreboard, players’ anxiety increases. This drains the kids of emotional energy, worrying about whether they will lose. It also will likely provoke physical and mental errors due to tentative and timid play.
Ultimately, anxiety undercuts self-confidence and takes the joy out of the game.
Click here to learn how to introduce the ELM approach to your team this season.
In partnership with USA Football and Positive Coaching Alliance, Liberty Mutual’s Responsible Sports program provides useful information for coaches on how to effectively decrease player anxiety, communicate with parents, officials and players, as well as teach kids to “honor” the sport. For more information, visit Responsible Sports.