Updated: Jan 29, 2020
These two things are not as mutually exclusive as some might think. Today's athletes needs are a bit different and a bit the same. Getting what you want them to do as a coach is pretty timeless; though it may take a commitment of time.
First, lets talk about what kids need. When they join sports teams initially and really for many years there forward they are looking for three key things. Years of surveys and research confirms these keys and they are also what will help make a more successful season by achieving them throughout your season.
Every kid and human is in search of a place to belong, a place they can be included.
Every young athlete needs a person or people to believe in them, to encourage them to get better.
Every athlete needs the engagement that the desire for improvement brings out.
The fourth P, is Positive Reinforcement. Let's even break that down further.
Positive is the part reflective of the ratio of encouragement vs. judgements. Kids these days need a higher ratio. Positive non-verbals are the fastest way to help you achieve this.
Reinforcement. Catch your athletes doing things right, catch them meeting and exceeding the standards set. To really double-down on this reinforcement of your culture, have their teammates recognize other teammates for doing things the righ t way, in and out of competition.
Ok, ok, now we can get to what coach wants.
What you reward, you'll get more of.
What you recognize in others, you'll get more of.
Humans and athletes crave recognition over reward. It's not complicated to ignite the drive you want to see, but it must be extracted with the athletes goal in mind. Work hard to get to know your athletes so you can fulfill the four P's above and Reward & recognize them effectively.