Saturday, June 16, 2012

Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Youth Sports by Jim Thompson

Effective coaching and learning starts with a positive approach toward athletics. Thompson provides a guide with theories and examples of how to be a more positive coach for any age and sport. When a coach is successful at positive coaching he or she is developing a successful team without the focus on winning and losing. The first chapter challenges the reader to think of himself as a coach and how he reacts with players. Are you a screamer? Do you think about winning at all costs? He acknowledges that it's hard to be a coach. How do you handle different situations? This helped me reflect on my own coaching skills and change a few things that might make me better.

The succeeding chapters get into more specifics and explain ways to handle parents, different types of players, mistakes, winning and losing, as well as, special needs players. It is practical and general with an abundance of stories that make it easy-to-read. I have been coaching a long time so I did not see anything earth-shattering, instead I came away with a way to reflect on my current practices.

The guts of the book is that coaches strive for players to display full effort, positive attitude, and good sportsmanship in all circumstances. When these character traits are pursued by players they will grow in confidence and mental toughness as they learn to deal with adversity while having fun in a sport they love to play. Players will reach their highest potential maintaining integrity and good sportsmanship as they learn life-long lessons that can be carried into other areas of life.

I read this for a class and would recommend it for coaches but I think the beginning coach is going to benefit more than the seasoned one. Also, the author comes at it from a male point-of-view having coached his son in baseball and basketball. I think the book would have been stronger if it had included a female point-of-view. Girls sports differs from boys sports in some ways and some of the issues are different based on gender differences. But there were only a few instances where I noticed the difference. If you coach, you'll get something out of the read. Building character in ourselves and children is critical to creating good citizens. Good stuff.
4 out of 5 Smileys

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