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Taken from Jim Thompson’s Positive Coaching: Building Character and Self-Esteem Through Sports

Positive Coach
Positive coaching is not ‘happy’ talk
Positive coaching is harder
Positive coaching is fun
Positive coaching can lead to more wins

Double-Goal Coach

1. First Goal- Winning

2. Second Goal- Life Lessons
            The real value in youth sports is teaching the kinds of character lessons that are learned from striving on the field,  lessons that bear ultimate fruit years later in a person’s profession and personality- their values, citizenship responsibilities, and family life.

Remember…only a small % make it to play college or professionally

Double goal coaches want to win and try to win.   But we do it with the realization that it is less than half of the complete picture.   We try to win so that kids can learn the lessons they need to learn to be successful in life.   We work hard to win so that kids can learn what they often can’t easily learn anywhere else.

Two goals working together
            Teaching your players to set goals and make a commitment to reaching those goals will help them develop positive character traits.   It will also contribute to them becoming better players and a better team.  This is a win-win situation.   You build character and you get better performance from your players.

Try to Redefine a “ Winner”

            Scoreboard Definition – 1. Results   2. Comparisons with others    3. Avoiding mistakes

1.Focus on scoreboard increases anxiety – anxiety undercuts self-confidence
2.Success in life- Learning to bounce back from failure and defeat in sports is                                  only one of many life lessons for success in life
3. Ethical decision making- When athletes are coached only to care about the scoreboard, why wouldn’t they display lower levels of ethical reasoning?   If your goal is to be the best you can be, you will be less likely to sacrifice your principles to win on the scoreboard.

Focus on improvement
Focus on mastery

Tool Kit

Tool #1
E.L.M. Tree of Mastery-  Effort, Learning, Mistakes

Tool # 2
Reward Unsuccessful Effort
            Look for situations which players try hard but fail to make the play.   Then praise them for their effort, and they will know that you are a coach who is watching for their effort and not just a successful outcome.

Tool #3
Effort Goals
            Help players set effort goals as well as outcome goals
            (Make contact with player first, -“our goal is to have you get more rebounds”-outcome goal, more rebounds)

Tool #4
Stretch Goals 
A goal that athletes, teams cannot achieve right away (making a left handed lay-
up, making one in a game)

Tool #5
Team Mistake ritual -  “Flush It”    “Wave it good bye”
Players need to get past mistakes to be able to focus on the next play, as well as to keep themselves from playing in a tentative fashion because they are afraid to make a mistake.

Tool #6
Targeted Symbolic Rewards - 
Stickers, lollipops, make up an effort medallion or some other means can be used to reward players for hustle plays or unsung activities that take place during a game.   The reward should not be something  valuable in itself (like money) because you want the reward to stand as a symbol for the kind of behavior you want to see from your players.

Filling the Emotional tank

            Praise-  specific and truthful

            Appreciation-  thank yous

            Positive Recognition-  notice the good things players do

            Listening- listen to your players

            Non verbal tank fillers – smile!!!!

5:1  Ratio
            5 positives to one negative

Emotional  Tank Tool Kit

Tool #1
Emotional tank script – have a script as to what an emotional tank is and how we keep it full.

Tool #2
Buddy System – coaches can get players to fill each other’s  emotional tanks by pairing them up in practices and games.   Charge them with saying and doing things that will fill their  buddy’s E-tank, then have them share what their buddy did in a  team meeting.

Tool #3
Develop Player Coaches- Help players to begin to think like a coach by asking them how they think they can improve rather than always telling them and by asking for their input on decisions

Tool #4
2 Minute Drill – Whenever your team’s performance is poor or energy is low in a practice or game, set a specific period of time and compliment your players for anything positive you can see

Tool #5
Player of the Day- When a particular player needs some extra E-Tank filling, focus on finding everything you can about his performances and behavior that is positive and let him know that you notice all the good things

Tool #6
Fun Activities -  Build activities into practices that are designed to remind players and coaches of how much fun the game is to fill player’s E-Tank

Tool #7
Positive Charting - Keep track during games of the good things kids do and share them at the beginning of the next practice so that players start with full E-Tanks.  You can have
parents do this.   Have a chart with all the players names on it and give it to a parent to fill out.  On the chart there can be a list of prompts for the parents, such as “mark down rebounds”,  ”made a great pass”, “hustled back on defense”, etc

Tool #8
Kid Friendly Criticism – Give kids criticism in a form they can hear and apply.   Avoid giving criticism in non-teachable moments.  Give criticism in private.   Try asking a player’s permission to give them a suggestion for how to improve performance.   Give a criticism “:Sandwish” by starting with a positive, then the suggestion  in ‘wish’ form, followed by another positive.


Tool Kit For Honoring The Game

Tool #1
Honoring the game Script-  R.O.O.T.S. (Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, Self) See ROOTS download

Tool #2
Sharing Honoring the Game with Parents- let them know you expect them to honor the game

Tool #3
Team Parent as Culture Keeper-  parent who knows ROOTS and sees that parents Honor the Game.

Tool #4
Narrated Model-  tell kids and parents why you did what you did

Tool #5
Seizing and Creating teachable Moments- using good examples and bad examples to teach moments about Honoring the Game

Tool #6
Permission Slip: Moral Courage in the Moment – Coaches have permission to intervene when it comes to Honoring the Game.