Coaching 13-to-17 year old player groups has been nationally identified by the majority of sports as the most demanding and difficult period for coaches and proportionally one of the most essential and challenging times for young athletes as they come to terms with the associated middle adolescence phase of life.
These crucial player development years, which coincide with both physical and emotional changes as childhood behaviours are adapted, requires youth coaches to embrace a coaching philosophy that is competency driven, appropriate to the players age and skill ability and relevant to the competition environment: community football.
The youth coach needs to measure the season’s success via player skill development, continued player participation and maximum game time provided to all players: positional rotations.
The AFL competition and its associated coaches have a major influence on coaches, parents, volunteers and administrators involved at the community level of participation.
It is vital to note that the methods, standards and coaching philosophies that serve this elite national competition should not necessarily be viewed as Best Coaching Practices given your role and responsibility as a community Youth Coach of a 13-to-17 year old developing player group.
Administrators, Coaches, Players, and Umpires are all travelling on the development pathway, hence the overall understanding, maturity and leadership required from you, the Coach.
In conclusion, one can fully appreciate the demands and requirements placed on the volunteer community youth coach, however in time you will look back on your involvement with pride and personal memories of a job well done.
Although the game score lines will be forgotten, building character and implanting life skills into young people will endure.