How to Teach Accountability in Youth Sports
If you love a sport, you want to be the best. This is true no matter what type of sport you play but when it comes to youth competition, athletes who participate in individual sports learn accountability in different ways than those who play as part of a team. Whether its swimming, track & field events or bowling near me, young athletes who are competing as individuals contributing to a team win often place a higher emphasis on accountability.
As a coach or a parent, teaching your athletes accountability will prepare them for greater achievements in both sports and life. Here are some ways you can reinforce this important trait to help youth athletes succeed:
A Game Plan for Success
Prior to any competition, give your athlete a clear, concise game plan for preparation. That includes everything from workouts to warmups. Anything that goes into preparing the athlete to compete. Coaches and parents can work together to make the athlete ready for competition from the mental to the physical.
Anything that helps to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety that might arise prior to a meet will put the athlete in a better mindset for doing their best. When you provide a blueprint for success from the get-go, you are enabling the athlete to perform at their highest level.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
Hindrances to success can become frustrating, especially if the athlete doesn’t feel fully prepared. So, the game plan for success discussed above is vital to get the athlete on the right track. But what happens when something doesn’t go as planned? The protocols established are not followed through upon entirely?
Teach your athlete that it’s okay to make mistakes. Accountability starts by taking responsibility for one’s actions and one’s own effort. If something was missed, learn from it. The lessons taken from these situations will only strengthen a young athlete’s drive to do better and build confidence when success is achieved time and again.
Keep Parents Involved
This is particularly important for parents of younger athletes who are just getting started with their involvement in a sport of any kind. Don’ t ever expect a young child to be a so-called “phenom” at the sport they have chosen to play. Coaches and parents alike must always recognize that younger athletes may first struggle to perform complex actions and tasks.
The ability to remember every step of an established protocol is something that becomes developed over time and, with younger athletes, it’s critical that you give them the time and patience they need to learn how to hone their normal cognitive abilities.
They may forget when or how to do certain tasks and might ask you to repeat instructions on multiple occasions. Here is where patience really comes into play, don’t express frustration or anger at the child, work with that athlete to help him or her retain and understand the information you are giving them. This way they can learn without feeling frustrated or defeated, which can dampen their excitement for the sport.