If you’re a youth hockey coach, then you already know how important it is to foster an environment and attitude of positivity for your team.
If you don’t do this right from the start, you can expect to have an unpleasant season with lots of complaining, disappointment, and bad attitudes all around.
Fortunately, fostering a positive team attitude and atmosphere isn’t rocket science. You just have to know and follow a few simple tips
Tip #1: Be Optimistic
First things first, understand that you, as the coach, set the mood and the overall tone for your players. If you have a positive and optimistic attitude, they will too. And, unfortunately, if you’re negative and pessimistic, they will be too.
As such, make sure you encourage your players right from the get-go and that you make it clear that you expect great things from them.
Just be careful that you understand the difference between optimism and pressure. Optimism is telling your players that you believe in them, and pressure is telling them they HAVE to do well. There is a big difference, and optimism should always win out if you want to create a happy, inviting team atmosphere that is conducive to success.
Tip #2: Be a Good Communicator
Another important thing that you can do is to communicate effectively with your young athletes.
Remember, first of all, that their attention span is not the same as an adult’s. Thus, try to deliver important messages to your players in interesting and concise ways. Long, wordy diatribes don’t tend to go over well with youth athletes.
Also, remember to keep your language positive. Never use name-calling or any berating words. Find constructive and positive ways to deliver criticism when necessary, and always couple any criticism with praise.
Aside from this, be confident and firm, but also caring, when you speak to your athletes.
Tip #3: Have Fun!
One final tip to remember when dealing with your young athletes is to have fun! Remember not to take things too seriously. Expect great things from your players but, at the same time, remember that you are dealing with youth hockey. It’s not a life or death situation.
If you are positive, enthusiastic, and having fun each day that you coach, your players will be too. And, if not, well, you’re just setting yourself and your team up for disaster.
If you can remember these tips, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to create a positive climate for your team in all of its endeavors.