Navigation Links
Coaches Can Play Big Role in How Kids Feel About Sports
Date:7/28/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- "Oh, put me in, coach! I'm ready to play today," plead the lyrics of a classic song about baseball.

A new study suggests that coaches who heed those pleas and give kids playing time and avoid pitting one kid against another may end up with more motivated players who stick with the game.

"The big thing here is to create a climate where the players don't compare themselves with others," said study author Jean Cote, director of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

Instead of comparing themselves to their teammates, kids should be encouraged to strive to improve on their own skills, called "self-referenced competency," Cote said.

Cote and his colleagues asked 510 Canadian youths aged 9 to 19 to complete several questionnaires on their sports experiences. All participated on school sports teams or non-elite community programs, including baseball, basketball, curling, dance, football, hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, softball, synchronized swimming, volleyball and ringette, a sport played on ice in which sticks are used to control a rubber ring.

The study found that several factors were associated with a positive experience, including when kids felt they were part of a team; when coaches kept the focus on personal skill development regardless of how the child measured up to others on the team; and when coaches and peers encouraged each player to do their best and to reach for challenging, but attainable, goals.

Negative experiences were most strongly associated with a focus on demonstrating superior ability over others and comparing one's own performance to others.

These findings all suggest that the stereotypical gruff, red-faced, screaming, yet lovable coach of Hollywood lore probably isn't the best type of coach for your kids.

The best coach, said Cote, is one that tries to be inclusive, sets goals based on each kid's skill level and makes drills enjoyable. Parents should look to see if their kids are smiling during practice or play. Do they look like they're having fun? If not, parents may want to see if they can get a different coach.

Results of the study are scheduled to be published in the September issue of The Sports Psychologist.

The benefits of a positive coaching environment can be seen both on and off the field, Cote said. Previous research has linked sports participation with increased grades and college enrollment.

"There are really three difference qualities of an activity that are needed to influence personal development: effort, concentration and enjoyment," explained Cote. "If you think about watching TV, there's enjoyment, but not a lot of effort or concentration, so it's probably not the best activity for personal development. But, when you look at sports, children who are giving a lot of effort and concentration, also usually enjoy it."

He said that when kids enjoy their sport, they'll stay motivated. And parents and kids alike should ignore pressure to start specializing in a sport at a young age.

"Kids that are the best at 12 or 13, if they start playing year-round may end up dropping out," Cote said. "A child can be very skilled, but if they lose their motivation, it doesn't matter how skilled they are. It's better to go slow at a young age, gradually increasing the amount of practice until age 14 or 15. It's all about balance."

And while parents may secretly harbor dreams of college scholarships or even a pro career, kids are mostly interested in having fun, said pediatric sports medicine specialist, Dr. Eric Small, from Mount Kisco, N.Y.

And having fun, of course, means making sure that all kids get ample chances to kick, throw and run, rather than just letting the best performers get most of the playing time.

"Most kids will say winning is more important, but most kids would rather be on a losing team and playing than sitting on the bench of the winning team," Small said. "Playing time is important to having fun, and it's about skill acquisition. Plus, teams who have fun tend to do better anyway."

More information

Read more about positive coaching from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

SOURCES: Jean Cote, Ph.D., professor and director, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; Eric Small, M.D., pedatric sports medicine specialist, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; September 2011 The Sports Psychologist


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Many Coaches Unprepared for Student-Athletes Asthma
2. Food Psychology Coaches Launch New Weight Loss Program for Ultimate Life Fitness Results
3. HeartCoaches Introduces Brain-Based Strategies for a Healthy Heart
4. Excluding children from discussions about their hospital care causes unnecessary distress
5. Parents Must Be Vigilant About Pool Safety
6. Lack of clarity about HPV vaccine and the need for cervical cancer screening
7. Research in fish provides new clues about deadly form of liver cancer
8. Intensive care nurses have doubts about method for establishing brain death
9. Parent-adolescent cell phone conversations reveal a lot about the relationship
10. Its not about the money for long-term care nurses
11. Truth About Ice Cream, Snow Cones May Be Hard to Swallow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The event is being held on April 7, 2016 from ... Triumph Over Parkinson’s will fund nearly $100,000 for research for the care and cure ... disease and is the architect of this informative event to raise awareness and funds ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... After years as ... Hospital Burn Unit, plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Wayne Carman transitioned to chief of ... He successfully completed his first three-year term as chief and began a second three-year ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , ... February 05, 2016 , ... Regular gym users ... themselves having to wait longer to access the treadmills. It’s a predictable trend. After ... to lose weight and get in shape by joining gyms, starting new walking or ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Dr. Justin Scott and Dr. Lydia ... No Cost Dental Day to individuals in need. The event is scheduled to take ... Cost Dental Day is to provide dental care to community members in need. Each ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... and wellness is a topic that should concern all Americans; however, it tends to ... are a severe form of a headache and often are accompanied by many various ... their worst enemy, the feeling can last for many hours and be totally debilitating. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: AEMD ), ... will be presenting at Source Capital Group,s 2016 Disruptive Growth ... at 2:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  ... taking place at 3:15 p.m. ET. http://www.aethlonmedical.com .  ... after the conclusion of the live event. The panel discussion ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... York , February 5, 2016 ... Transparency Market Research report states that the global active ... 2014 and is predicted to reach US$185.9 bn by ... of 6.50% from 2014 to 2020. The title of ... Chemical/Biological, Captive/Contract Manufactured, by Geography, and by Therapeutic Area) ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Ind. , Feb. 5, 2016  Zimmer Biomet ... pricing of the previously announced underwritten secondary offering of ... its stockholders, consisting of affiliates of Blackstone and Goldman ... at an initial price of $96.45 per share. The ... the offering.  Neither Zimmer Biomet nor any of its ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: