AYSO National Partner, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), regularly hosts group workshops and online courses
for coaches involved in youth sports.
One of PCA's favorite lessons is ELM - which stands for effort, learning and mistakes are ok. David Jacobson, the Manager of Marketing Communications for PCA, describes ELM:
"Too often in youth sports, coaches (and for that matter parents and players) focus on the scoreboard," explained David. "But only one team can win, so PCA suggests redefining 'winner' to apply to all players who expend their maximum effort, are continually learning and are not deterred by mistakes."
Coaches should consider introducing ELM at the initial team meeting. For example: "We are in for a great season. We never know what the outcome of our games will be on the scoreboard and we don't actually have much control over that. What we do control is our effort, which should always be our maximum; how much we learn, so that we can keep improving throughout the season; and how we respond to mistakes. Mistakes are ok, as long as we learn from them."
This approach will help players relax and focus only on what they can control, which reduces anxiety and leads to better performance, perhaps reflected on the scoreboard.
For more ideas on how to get the most from your players while helping them get the most out of sports, visit PositiveCoach.org