TimeOut with Tambo: Observations on coaching styles

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I have been spending a lot of time attending youth sporting events and I have been observing a plethora of youth coaches and coaching styles.

My current job allows me to sit back and observe high school coaches from many sports. I get to see several sports that I didn’t get to see while I was coaching and I get to observe coaches from those sports and the sports in which I was involved.

There is no one correct coaching style or sure fire formula for coaching success. Players are what make coaches successful. Good players make good coaches.

It used to be that kids grew up in a neighborhood and then attended the neighborhood school. That is definitely not the case nowadays. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) apparently has given up and has thrown in the towel on transfer rules and transfer student/athletes. Chalk up a win for the lawyers of America.

Coaches have known that players are the most important ingredient in making coaches successful.

High school coaches have learned that lesson from college coaches and have learned how to recruit like their big brothers. Travel ball coaches have no rules and they recruit the good players from all over the state in several sports. Practices are not as important any more since every player has his or her own personal coach in just about every sport. Good coaches are available for good money.

What about kids just starting out? What about rec (recreational) ball? What do the parents do who can’t afford a personal coach or just want their children to have fun and play sports? What about parents who look at sports as a part of growing up and not as an investment or an avenue to college or professional sports?

In my observation I have seen many well-meaning coaches who shouldn’t be coaching. They are nice but they have not done their homework.

Every coach in every league should at least have to pass some simple tests on the fundamentals of the game that they are coaching.  A youth soccer organization, at one time, made coaches go to clinics and be certified. That is not the case in most sports.

Having played a sport does not mean that one can coach a sport. Coaching is an ever evolving profession. Players who haven’t kept up with a sport since they were in high school probably need a refresher course or two.

Improper coaching can lead to injuries. When I started coaching football, l taught everybody taught the butt block and tackle. That is illegal and dangerous. We learned that after several broken necks and head injuries.

Arm injuries are common in youth sports. Why do you think they call tendonitis Little League elbow?

Chances are if your son’s or daughter’s coach is instructing like he or she was coached, then he or she is doing it wrong. Charging money for coaching does not make that coach a professional.

My son once had a coach that knew absolutely nothing about the sport he or she was coaching. After the season the coach said, “at least I was better than nothing.” I would disagree. A bad coach is worse than no coach at all. Injuries are a part of most sports but many injuries can be avoided with good coaching. Injuries can be detected early and treated by good coaches.

Summer is coming up. There are plenty of camps, leagues, and travel ball tournaments in many sports. School is out but parents should do their homework before they let their children play for just any coach.

Whether it is a rec league or a prestigious travel ball team, parents should check out the credentials of those who will be coaching their children.

   
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