Youth Coaching Tips- When You Lose a Game

Jan 17, 12

What do you do when you lose a game? If you’re a youth coach, how you respond to a losing game is very important to the players and their morale. It will also help shape who they become as players in the future.

It’s understandable that you might be disappointed with winning a game. However, it’s important that you don’t let the players think you are disappointed in them. You need to boost morale and give them encouragement. Here are some tips to help when you lose a game:

  • Show good sportsmanship to the other team
  • Encourage your players to say “good game” and give high fives to the other team
  • Shake the hand of the other coach and compliment them on their game
  • Compliment their players- “good kick”, “nice defending”, etc.
  • Take time to meet with your players and tell them they did a great job
  • Point out the positives instead of saying “you should have done this”
  • Compliment them on how they are improving and what they did well on – “great job listing”, “good how you followed through on your kicks”, etc.
  • Avoid singling out players in a negative way
  • Be sure to always tell the team as a whole and individual players that they did a good job

Reward your team based on effort and improvements, not on the win-loss ratio. The true definition of a winning team is one that is playing hard, playing fair and improving throughout the season. When your team learns to work together and the team as a whole as well as individual players improve their skills, you are doing great, regardless of what the scoreboard shows.

At your next practice or team meeting, you can focus on things your players could have done better at the game but even then, still keep it positive. There are ways to give constructive criticism in a positive way which is better on the player’s self esteem. For example, you could say, “Our offense is great but we need to be a little more aggressive getting the ball” instead of saying, “Standing around watching the ball isn’t going to help us score”.

The way you respond when you lose a game is very important to the players. Children of all ages are very impressionable, even when you may not think so and they are looking to you, the coach, as a role model. Even if you don’t think they see you that way, they do and it’s your responsibility to show them the proper way to respond to a loss and also that you are not angry with them or disappointed in them for the loss. These tips will help you do that.