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  Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Youth Sports and Your Child's Coach - Series Conclusion
By Joe Kelly

     Dave Nagle is currently the girl’s varsity basketball coach at Savio Prep and a longtime South Boston CYO and BNBL coach. Dave has three daughters; all have played three sports, and he understands what it’s like to be on both sides. Here are a few of Dave’s thoughts toward coaching youth sports.

     “At the earliest levels the coaches job should be to teach fundamentals, standings should not even be kept. Every year I see kids who say they have played youth basketball for years and can't dribble, make a lay-up or understand the fundamentals. Up to the 7th or 8th grade it should be fundamentals only, because once they have a good foundation even the marginal players will make their High School teams”.

      Each year Dave has an informational night for the parents to explain where the team is at and how playing time is earned. He also relies heavily on his captains and says, “I have been blessed to have many fine captains and find them to be the most valuable resource on my team. As a High School coach I have my teams set goals. I make the kids set personal goals and team goals to improve themselves through hard work”.

     Dave on commitment, “The parents and children need to be committed to their team. Coaches commit many hours to practice’s and games and then players don’t show up. If you've committed to a team then you should stick to it. A child needs to be well rounded but most three sport athletes play one sport a season with their best/favorite sport filling any down time, during the summer for example”.

     Dave adds, “Most coaches love the game and stay in touch with new ideas, rule changes and coaching techniques. But if you see something you don’t agree with try not to criticize, volunteer to help or suggest someone who can help. Also, while at the game try not to coach, I’ve done it; it confuses the kids when they hear different instructions. After the game, not during, talk to your child and give them some tips and advice”.

     Marie Laundry is currently entering her 7th year as Athletic Director at Mt. St. Joseph’s High School. She is the varsity soccer coach and JV basketball and softball coach Marie has also coached CYO softball and basketball and BNBL for many years. Marie adamantly says, "Coaching is my passion". 

     She got into coaching because she wasn’t happy with her daughter’s coach. She says, “I was lucky to start out coaching with someone who was very fair and concentrated on disciplined practices breaking down every skill and repeating them over and over. As a three-season high school coach and a youth girls’ basketball coach I run all my practices with the same emphasis, fundamentals.  Dribbling is my pet peeve; I want every girl to be able to dribble with confidence.  As children grow and move on to other teams their positions may change and I try and give them every advantage to succeed”.

  

     As a girl's high school athletic director her focus is on "sportswomanship", teamwork and life-long lessons such as responsibility and accountability.  Marie says, “Sports are much more than winning games.  Coaches have a responsibility to ALL their players and in return a player should commit to their coach, school or organization. When hiring coaches I look for individuals with not only game knowledge but also someone who will implement our schools philosophy and make the experience enjoyable”. 

     Her beliefs, “All athletes should be given a chance to play at every level.  At the start of each season our athletes, parents and coaches meet for a prayer service, potluck dinner and information night.  The heart of my message is one of the love and commitment I have for their daughters.  I also explain what I expect from them emphasizing sportswomanship, respect for each other and the other teams, officials, and spectators”. 

   

     Marie’s advice to parents of young athletes, “Make sure coaches are teaching fundamentals, and sit back and enjoy watching your child play. Please do not coach them from the sidelines and be sure both you and your child say "thank you" to the coaches”.

     Billy Collins has coached Little League for six years, fast pitch softball for 17 years and Pop Warner football. “I personally enjoy coaching sports. Every coach has a different way of teaching and coaching but the most important thing for me is to let the kids know what mistakes they made and learn from them”. Billy believes all kid’s are different and may need to be taught differently than others, this is what makes coaching a “challenge” to him and states “Coaching should be considered a privilege”.

     Billy says, “As coach’s we have an opportunity to share our love and knowledge of our sport. Many coaches that may not have played a particular sport become very good coaches. A coach’s main objective should be to teach our kids to have fun during sports. Coaches, as well as parents, should have some knowledge of the game and the rules”.

     “Coaches should know the rules of the game and teach the skills needed to succeed. They also must teach sportsmanship, as they will not win every game. As coach’s we need to teach teamwork, discipline and fundamentals. Kids should be taught to play as many positions possible. All kids, regardless of ability, need to be given the same amount of attention and instruction”.      

     He talked of how finding good quality coaches is difficult at any level, and with many levels of ability in youth sports you need many volunteers.

     Billy talked about emotion, “Emotions play a big part in coaching and in sports. Kid’s emotions are displayed every other play, as are coach’s and parents. We should all be aware as coaches that every new season brings new questions and new emotions to adjust to. As a coach I study the new rules every year to better answer their questions and be a better coach. As coaches and parents we have to adjust to every one of these emotions, and be able to explain how to handle game situations”.

     We would like your feedback concerning the Youth Sports and Your Child's Coach series.  Also, if you have a sports topic you feel should be discussed or an athlete to be spotlighted please email Joe Kelly at southbostonsports@yahoo.com.

     Thank you to LittleLeague.org, Dave Nagle, Marie Laundry and Billy Collins for their contribution on this very important social topic.



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