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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 15:20

What is an Athlete-Centered Coaching Philosophy & Why You Should Use It

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This philosophy enhances athlete learning and development by allowing athletes to take ownership of their learning, thus increasing their opportunities and strengthening their abilities to retain important skills and ideas. This learning also develops athletes’ ability to make informed decisions during competitions, an important element in successful performance at any sporting level and can help athletes to take leadership roles and ownership in enhancing the team culture.

Patience, encouragement and concern are characteristics at the core of an athlete-centered philosophy which can help your athletes strive for excellence. This philosophy begins with teaching skills in a fun and supportive environment. The emphasis is less on winning and more on encouraging youth to challenge themselves to improve and excel.

Creating a supportive environment is also a key component of an athlete-centered philosophy. For example, instead of yelling when a player does something wrong speak to them in a natural tone on how to properly correct this issue. This provides encouragement and constructive feedback which can motivate them and help them move closer to their potential.

Other supportive elements can be as simple as such greeting the athletes by name; providing encouragement and constructive feedback to all of the players each game; encouraging them to cheer and praise one another; and teaching them to be respectful to one another and the opposing team.

All of these are vital keys to helping kids develop skills, friendships and have fun. The philosophy also emphasizes teaching life skills through sport. You can help athletes learn the importance of committing to a goal and working hard to achieve it; how to handle adversity; how to support, respect and work with others; and how to manage our emotions and develop self-control. These lessons only occur if you intentionally teach these lessons within sport.

Using such a philosophy will provide the kids with a positive, fun and enjoyable experience that will hopefully stay with them and encourage them to live actively. More importantly, you can help provide our youth with opportunities to develop life skills that will help them be an active, positive and contributing member within our community.


Here Are Some Basic Tips For You To Get You Started:


  • Accept children’s goals for playing (fun, friends, fitness, participation and skill development) and put those goals first.
  • Understand that sport is only one of many enriching activities in which children participate.
  • Provide every athlete with an equal opportunity to develop his/her skills and learn new ones.
  • Develop a positive rapport with your athletes.
  • Ask for and listen to your athletes’ thoughts and opinions.
  • Make good sportsmanship a fundamental value for the team.
  • Help your athletes take away life experiences and lessons from sports.
  • Support your athletes in being student-athletes.
  • Contribute positively to your athletes’ self-confidence. Set high standards and expectations.
  • Ensure that athletes and their parents understand all league and team rules/policies and consequences.
  • Communicate your expectations clearly.
  • Explain to your athletes and their parents that sport participation is a privilege and not a right, and that they must adhere to policies/rules and meet team expectations.
  • Enforce policies/rules consistently and fairly.
  • Create a sense of ownership for individual and team behavior among your athletes. Provide athletes with responsibility and leadership opportunities.
Read 5479 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 16:43