3 Ways That Team Sports Prepare You For Life | Team Sport

When you read that title, I’m sure you were thinking that I would write about leadership, or the ups and downs associated with sports. And I could write about that…but not today! As you know, I’ve declared July “I Love Coaching” Month and one of my favorite truisms in volleyball (that can be applied to all ball sports) is: the ball never lies.Sometimes I work with young players and I sit them down and hold up a volleyball. I ask them if they can get a good look at it and they nod. Then I proceed to tell them that there is no little brain inside of that volleyball. It can only do what it’s told. I tell them that this is the most honest relationship that they will ever enter into…between them and the volleyball. That ball will always tell them the truth. It is incapable of lying. Sometimes the truth is gratifying and satisfying…but sometimes it’s humbling. Through it all, the ball never lies.Sports are complex, much like life. So let’s look at how we can apply this truism, “the ball never lies” to real life situations.


Sports scenario: A blocker at the net in a volleyball game touches the ball, but the official doesn’t see it and the blocker’s team gets the point. While the opposing team are all screaming “touch!” and appealing to the refs and the line judges, the blocker innocently goes back to her place on the court. The next server promptly serves the ball into the bottom of the net. The ball never lies.
Real life application: Things in life balance out…it’s the whole equal and opposite reaction thing. So I try not to get too high when things are going great or too low when things aren’t going the way I’d like. Life has a way of working itself out.
Sports scenario: The ball is a wonderful teacher, it’s almost like having another coach in the gym! If a player is serving and they get some sort of crazy underspin, they contacted the ball underneath center. If the setter sets the ball too tight, then she needs to correct with her shoulders. Your hitter keeps wailing the ball out of bounds? She’s got to get on top of the ball. If we teach our teams how the ball shows them what they’re doing wrong, they’ll be able to identify the problem and begin working on the solution… because the ball will only do what players tell it to do. The ball never lies.
Real life application: Not being able to do something the right way can be very frustrating…even embarrassing. We’ve got to remember that every problem has a solution and sometimes looking critically at the problem will yield the solution.
Sports scenario: You’ve got two players. They’re both awesome people, come to practice on time, work hard, and they’re great and supportive teammates. They’re also battling for a starting position. The first player, let’s call her Susie, can pass nails, hits the mess out of the ball, and is a hustler on defense. The second player, we’ll call her Becca, watches balls hits the floor on defense, shirks from balls rather than passing them, and plays it safe when it comes to attacking at the net. Both of these players are communicating with the ball…and I’m sure you can guess which conversation the coaches like best! Susie is getting the ball to perform for her in ways that Becca hasn’t mastered yet, so Susie is our starter. It’s not personal Becca. The ball never lies.
Real life application: Results matter and those who can produce the best results will get the best opportunities. Sometimes we think the boss is playing favorites, when actually they’re judging the quality of results. Or as a track coach once told me: “Yeah, I have favorites. My favorites are the people who run the fastest!”


I’m sure coaches of other sports were reading this and putting their sports spin on it…that’s great! We really are teaching our athletes about the real world when they step onto our courts and fields. Let’s be sure to make those connections with our athletes so that they can see how their athletic life can mirror their “real life”.

Seven Tips On How To Be A Successful Coach In Youth Soccer Or In Any Team Sport | Team Sport

Hello coaches…!Whether you’re new to coaching, or have some experience as well, I think this article will give you some insight on how to be more successful. I have been a soccer coach for 10 years in youth soccer in the Los Angeles Region 78, with amazing success, and I’ve seen the right way and the wrong way to do this.So, pull up a chair and let’s get started..1. Define SuccessAt the beginning of your season, it’s most important that you define “success” for your kids, and especially for your parents (not nearly as easy). But it’s simple, really. Success is when the kids have fun. You’re not going to win every game. None of your players will ever win the world cup (or even play as high up as college). Many are playing for the first, and only time. No one is getting paid.So, just remember, if it’s not fun, what’s the point? Exactly.2. Identify with your players.You need to know everyone’s name by the end of the first practice. It’s actually easy to do. Have them do a drill and shout their name as the complete it (penalty kicks are great here). Not only do you learn the names, but you’ll also remember who can shot the penalties for you. High value. Ask each player about his experience playing soccer, and try to find out a little personal information as well. It’s great to know these things when your players are in a jam in a game, and really need your help.3. Set boundaries for behavior.


Let the players know how they must conduct themselves (and the PARENTS, TOO!). Explain to them that they represent a class team, and that they’re going to act in a classy manner, win or lose. It is equally important to know how to win and how to lose. There is grace in both. You, as the coach, are in the best position here to set an example for player and parents. Make sure you do. NEVER criticize a ref in a game, and NEVER allow your players or parents to do so. If you question a decision, bring it up privately at halftime, or afterwards. Let your players and parents also know that they should not expect a ref to win or lose a game for them. That’s up to the players, and coach.4. Be organized.Make sure you have a plan for each practice to fill up the time with drills, scrimmage, and discussion. Make sure your paperwork is together. Make sure you have a cell phone number for every parent on your team. I like to sit down with the players before and after each practice, and each game, to go over their understanding of what happened last, what’s next, how we can improve, and to also take advantage of encouraging or congratulating each other, and ourselves.5. Be demanding, but also acknowledge success, and improvement.Players need a challenge, but they also need to hear it when they’re doing something right. Your best players will run pretty much on autopilot, with little touches here and there, but the rest will need constant instruction, and praise. Even the weakest players will feel a sense of accomplishment with one word from you about any contribution, however small, they may have made to help their team. This truly helps with their sense of self-worth, and it also lets the other players on the team (especially your little superstars) know that it takes 11 guys to win a game.One year one of my absolute weakest players, Chris, actually had a game where he touched the ball, twice, I think, and he truly made a pass forward (or tried) to another teammate. In the team meeting after the game I told him that her had just played his best game of the season so far. You should have seen the smile on his face. It changed him completely. Next day his mom called to say that he was having so much fun with soccer, in contrast to all the other sports he had already tried, where he had been criticized for not being athletic. Before games, the other players would look for him if he was late, and call his name in unison as he ran up to join them. Success defined, and achieved.Nothing is really more gratifying to me than to have a parent approach me, years later, and say:Coach, do you remember Johnny? He was on your team seven years ago and there was that play in front of the goal? (Here is where you smile politely, and nod your head………..). Well, little Johnny still talks about it, what you said, and how it helped him, and on and on.


As a coach you may not know until years later what effect you’ve had on these kids. You have the chance to teach them about life, from the lessons on the field. Use the opportunity, and responsibility, wisely.6. Delegate wherever possible.It can be hard to let go, but once you do you’ll love it. Let the parents make phone calls, organize snacks, transportation, and parties. You’re then free to deal with the game, and the game only. Get an assistant coach who can show up when you can’t. Let that person also make recommendations and decisions on players and strategy. He/she will love you for it.7. Keep the parents involved.I always say that “it’s the team with the best parents that wins the most games, and has the most fun.”I always start the season with a private meeting with the parents, to let them know what to expect of me and their kids, what I expect of them, how to behave at games, and to go over nutrition, eating habits, the elimination of fast food on game day, getting enough rest, and getting to games and practices on time. Make sure each one has a list of parent phone numbers, and game and practice times.Also remember that the parents may also end up being a valuable source of business for you, depending upon what you do professionally. If you do a good job with their kid they actually will end up sending you business…!