Over his time as founder of Changing the Game Project, John O'Sullivan has spoken sports scientists and researchers, youth and professional coaches. Throughout his conversations he has come to realize a common theme of what makes a great coach. Here's a hint: it's more than the wins and losses.
While some things may be different in today’s youth athletes compared to decades ago the basic human needs of the player-coach relationship remain the same.
“We raised them. We shouldn’t blame kids if we’re the parents. That being said, I think they’re mostly the same and yes, some things are different… What the kids need from coaches - respect, encouragement, validation, good role models, clear communication, good knowledge of the sport, to feel inspired, feel empowered, feel respected and relevant - these things haven’t changed,” said O’Sullivan.
“That’s what I wanted when I was growing up and kids still want those things. I think sometimes I see people using ‘kids these days’ as an excuse for poor coaching. It’s not to say that kids haven’t changed a little bit but there’s a lot of great coaches out there who are reaching them. So they can be reached. Maybe it’s you who has to change.”