5 Ways to Tell If Your Kid Will Succeed in Sports

Just because your child is enjoying a lot of success on the field or on the court, does that mean they are coachable?

Not necessarily.

At younger ages, greater physical size and an above-average skillset (strong arm, strong foot or another singular skill) may be all your child needs for success.

However, if they aren’t coachable and open to change and acquiring higher-level skills, then they may be doomed for a downward spiral when they reach older ages (many times at the 12-14 year old age range, or early in high school).

A coachable athlete is more likely to reach their potential and is held in higher regard by coaches because they are easier to teach and cause coaches less frustration.

5 Ways to Tell if Your Child is Coachable

It’s never too early to assess your child’s progress in this area and provide proper guidance. 

1. They are open to change

They don’t have all the answers and tend to have healthy levels of respect for the game and for their teammates, coaches and officials.

2. They are active listeners

They often will look the coach in the eye when receiving instruction and will actually hear what is being said, rather than being distracted, disinterested or defensive.

3. They manage their emotions well

They are NOT the ones’ who throw their arms up in the air when someone tries to correct them. In most cases, they behave properly.

4. They show incremental improvement

They do not just practice what comes easy. They take a new skill or concept recently introduced in practice and put it into play during a game (or at least attempt to do this).

5. They don’t often “Go Rogue” during games

They follow the coaches’ instructions and don’t display selfishness during games by deviating from the coaches’ game plan and rules.

“A coachable athlete is more likely to reach their potential and is held in higher regard by coaches because they are easier to teach and cause coaches less frustration.”

Additionally, Here are Some Warning Signs that Your Child may not be as Coachable as you may Think

3 Things they commonly do:

1. They act defensively when receiving instruction (either verbally or through poor body language)

2. They blame anyone and anything (teammates, officials, the weather, their equipment, etc.

3. They don’t carry out the coaches instructions during a game (they instead “freelance” and do as they please)

3 Things they commonly say:

1. “That was not my fault…”

2. “Coach always picks on me…

3. “I’m not doing that…” – when a coach offers feedback about a technique

What may be Happening with your Child?

If a child has severe difficulties being coachable, the first place a parent should look is at their child’s self-esteem. Often times, this child will have a jaded, overly-inflated opinion of their own abilities and a “know-it-all” mentality. This can often be a mask for insecurity. Don’t mistake “confidence” for low self-esteem. Get them help.

Being coachable in youth sports starts with the willingness to be corrected without pushback. Then it requires an honest effort to use that knowledge to improve. This skill becomes increasingly important, as your child gets older; especially if they strive to continue playing at higher levels. Travel coaches, high school coaches and ultimately college coaches seek “coachable” kids. 

Consider The Bigger Picture

Instead of a non-stop focus on winning, personal accomplishments and becoming even more competitive, be sure to also consider in the mix the value of your child becoming more coachable.

The more coachable they are, the better player and person they become.

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