How Kids Can Tell If Their Coach Cares

Researchers asked young athletes how they can tell if their coach actually cares about them and their teammates. Here's what they had to say.

Every athlete wants to play for a coach who cares.

Not just cares about winning, but cares about them.

Dr. Mary Fry, Director of the Sport and Exercise Physiology Lab at Kansas University, researches motivation in athletes. Recently, she led research on what makes youth athletes feel cared for by their coach.

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Every athlete wants to play for a coach who cares.

Not just cares about winning, but cares about them.

Dr. Mary Fry, Director of the Sport and Exercise Physiology Lab at Kansas University, researches motivation in athletes. Recently, she led research on what makes youth athletes feel cared for by their coach.

In this video from the Positive Coaching Alliance, Fry discusses the key findings:

"We asked kids, 'How can you tell that your coach really cares about you and your teammate? What kind of things does your coach do?'" says Fry.

The most common responses centered around these core ideas:

  • "My coach really notices my improvement." The coach often points out improvement that the athletes themselves might not notice otherwise.
  • "My coach really praises effort." The coach gets excited when their athletes try hard and praises them for that.
  • "My coach really pushes us hard. We run and train hard because my coach thinks we have so much potential and believes in us." The coach inspires their athletes to train hard, but not because they have a low opinion of their current fitness or ability level, but rather because they see great potential inside of them.
  • "When somebody gets injured, my coach comes running out on the field. My coach isn't standing on the sideline saying, 'Get up. You're fine.'" The coach genuinely cares about their players' well-being. If someone has a doctor's appointment for an injury, the coach is following up with a text message to see how things went.

It's not enough for a coach to think they care about their athletes if the athletes don't feel the same way.

Kids will learn quicker, play harder and have more fun when they believe their coach cares about them.

To find this full resource and over 2,000 others from Positive Coaching Alliance, head over to pcadevzone.org.

Positive Coaching Alliance is dedicated to building Better Athletes, Better People and is a proud contributor to STACK.

Photo Credit: FatCamera/iStock

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Topics: LEADERSHIP | COACH | SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY | YOUTH SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS | POSITIVE COACHING