The job of a youth coach may be the most important coaching job that exists. The pay that is received doesn’t quite match up to the importance of it! A youth coach is more often than not the very first coach and teacher a child has. It is very important for a child to have a good first experience in order for them to continue playing their chosen sport. I am under the belief that knowledge of the sport is secondary to knowing how to have fun with the kids and keeping them interested in the sport that is being coached. Making practice fun while teaching the basics of the sport is very important. Kids will want to continue playing a sport if they find the sport fun. I remember my first youth baseball coach, he was limited in baseball knowledge, however made it fun and I developed a baseball for baseball that year that still exists today.
The youth coach is responsible for bringing 10 or more children together, teaching them the basics of the sport, helping them form friendships, fostering teamwork, and most of all teaching them to love the game. Developing these things during practice is very important as considerably more time will be spent with the children during practice than games. Practices should be set up to be fun and skill based. It is important for the kids to have fun and interact with their teammates during a practice while the skills are being taught. There is a fine line between letting the children get too silly and allowing them to have fun. That is another one the challenges for a volunteer youth coach!