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How to Cut the Learning Curve for Youth Athletes Through Effective Communication

Coach Greg Hereford - CPT, CES and Salem High Strength Coach

When coaching remember who your audience is. Are you talking to a youth, teen, young adult or seasoned vet? Even if the message is the same your audience requires age and experience appropriate messaging customized for the right group. Deliver your message and instructions packaged accordingly.

Youth athletes are kids first, they have not only limited experience in the sport or activity but limited life experience to reference for support. When introducing a concept, you must meet the athlete where they are. This message must be tailored to be:

Interesting and appealing - is it related to them and their needs? This will help earn their attention and keep them focused.

Easily digestible - Show Tell and Do

Keep it simple with terminology, visual cues and mirroring to help every student athlete learn from multiple perspectives.

Be practical - Delivery of each concept must be immediately applied. This means the introduction of the concept must provide a solution to a current problem, improve lagging skill.

How does your athlete learn best, is it visual 👀 , audible 👂 , or hands on 👷?

To deliver your message in a way that the team, group or individual will be able to receive easily. I like to use the “Show. Tell. Do” method.

Visual learners

Let them see it. Write it out, so they can read it. Demonstrated with details and broken down in to pieces, so they can see it.

Audible learners

These learn need to hear it. Saying it out loud in detail. Allow them to be involved in the process with questions and clarifying statements. Having the patience to involve them in the discussion will go a long way. Making it conversation helps imbed the information.

Hand on or kinetic learners

Let them try it out. Hands on actives help these learners take theory and make it real. As a kinetic learner myself, being shown, reading and hearing  instructions sometimes leaves me with doubts of how to execute the task. Maybe it’s me but how could this apply to my game play? By placing me in the driver seat helps me understand.

Is your message checking ✅the right box? I hope this helps you lead your teams. Remember this… Your team is only as strong as the weakest link. Bridge the gap!

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