Activity: Skittles and Sprints by James Leath

Forget all that noise. You can yell all you want, but true motivation comes from adding in competition. And if you are a parent, let's be real: you know the reality of the importance of bribing your child! Here is one way to get your athletes to increase their cardiovascular fitness at the end of practice and have fun while doing it!

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Control Your Emotions, Coach by James Leath

Young athletes are not adults and do not have the life experience to be held to the expectation of being able to control their emotions. Sports gives a student a controlled environment to learn how to manage feelings and emotions, and the coach is the teacher. That teaching is one of the biggest lessons a coach can teach an athlete under their supervision.

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Success is in the Details by James Leath

Coach, challenge your athletes to set the standard for the team. They will not adhere to seemingly arbitrary rules handed down on a piece of paper or written on a wall. You didn't when you were an athlete and neither will they. However, if you can get them to feel how the expectation will help them, you will see improved compliance.

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Meeting Your New Team by James Leath

Too many coaches think the most important thing in a meeting is to tell the players what they need to know. Yes, there is a time for that, but not enough coaches give space for their players to share. There is wisdom to be learned from a coach, and just as much from an athlete.

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Abusive Coaching by James Leath

Our voice as “Coach” stays with our athletes long after they hand in their jersey for the last time. Our words echo inside their brains, the good and the bad. For example, I remember when my high school volleyball coach spent over an hour with me after practice preparing me for a job interview and sharing tips on how to dress and what to say. I also remember when my eighth-grade baseball coach yelled at me from the dugout to “just throw fu$&%ing strikes” when I struggled to get the ball over the plate.

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Family, First by James Leath

As adults, we have a responsibility to allow our children to be children. Why do so many parents feel the need to fill every weekend with tournaments and training at the cost of letting a child be a child? What about family time? What about letting kids hang out with their friends? These are a problem that is only being exacerbated by many people in youth sports, specifically the club coaches who promise that taking a weekend off, much less a few weeks, would be severely detrimental to the development of that player. That is just wrong thinking.

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Winning and Losing by James Leath

“Sometimes when you win, you actually lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.” -Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

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