Coaching youth has never been more challenging. Students are overburdened by school and overwhelmed by peer pressure. Need help? Here are 5 tips for coaching Generation Z:
- Create a Positive Environment – A coach’s first priority should be ensuring the student is enjoying the activity. Multiple national surveys confirm that a student’s primary interest for participating in extracurricular activities is simply to “Have Fun.” Smile. Laugh. Repeat.
- Encourage Creativity, Risks and New Opportunities – Students want to be stimulated with activities once they leave the classroom. The number one reason why students quit an extracurricular activity is because they lose interest. Move the centerfielder to second base, put the screenwriter behind the camera, and let the pianist freestyle.
- Promote – Generation Z is social media savvy. Coaches should be too. Coaches have never had so many resources to inspire students and share the success of their students with friends, family and fans. Put the cassette mix-tape down, and instead create a YouTube multimedia montage, Twitter hashtags, a Facebook fan page, or an IContact parent newsletter. All are gratis.
- Emphasize Effort (Not Results) – The New York Times best selling book Nurture Shock taught us the dangers of the “inverse power of praise.” Accustomed to praise by their parents in a commendable attempt to build confidence, students today are surprisingly afraid to tackle challenges in fear of failure and typically only willing to try activities that come easy to them. To combat this trend, highlight a student’s attitude, effort and resolve.
- Be Responsive – Whether we like it or not, IPhones and Blackberrys condition us to expect immediate feedback. If a
parentstudent asks you a question, make your best effort to provide a response promptly. If you can’t answer it in 36 hours, acknowledge their question and let them know you will answer it at the next practice or over the weekend. The parentstudent will know you are committed.
What are your strategies for coaching Generation Z?