Coaching Natural Talents vs. Coaching Project Players

Every sports league is filled with players who are competent, others who stand a cut above the rest, and those who don’t have the skills needed to succeed in the sport. Every team is made up of these players, and many coaches understandably favor their best players. They see these players as having the potential to do great things. For one reason or another, most coaches, unfortunately, do not take the time to work with those who need a great deal of improvement.

It’s important to understand that at the youth level, being “great” means having a natural talent for something. That does not mean; however, that they’re beyond the capacity for improvement. The learning curve for younger athletes is sharp and gets steeper at each successive level. You’ll find that only a small percentage of the players that were considered “great” in their youth leagues make it to the professional level.

There Are Different Kinds of Project Players

There are some kids, no matter how hard they try, that will never be competent at playing baseball, football, basketball, or hockey. That’s ok. Not everyone is going to succeed or enjoy sports at a high level. Nonetheless, their parents convince them to participate in team sports, and they get through the process as best they can. Generally speaking, coaches try to get kids to take an interest in the sport, but their lack of ability soon reveals itself as a major roadblock. Parents often get upset with the coaches because they don’t feel like they’re doing enough, but no amount of coaching is going to turn a sub-par player into a professional level athlete.

There are other players that are naturally athletic but don’t have the fundamentals down yet to achieve their full potential. In instances like these, a good coach might pair up a player like this with the best player on the team for drills and catching. The idea here is to allow the player to learn the habits and skills that the naturally talented player has, so they too can develop some of those skills.

Practice Makes Perfect

Natural athletes that don’t have sound fundamentals can be taught those skills and improve greatly as a result. There are times when players make it into professional ranks based on raw talent alone. The hope is that coaches at the professional and minor league level can hone their natural abilities and instincts to make them great.

As with most things in life, sports excellence requires dedication, practice, and a willingness to listen and learn. While coaches appreciate coaching great players, they take a special kind of pride in developing those diamonds in the rough into full-fledged stars. It’s no different at the youth level.

Coaching at the youth level is about growth and improvement. The pressure of winning and the expectations of success can wait in favor of kids learning and growing from the experience. While not everyone is cut out for sports even as a recreational activity, a good coach can inspire pride, improvement, and willingness to grow no matter what the skill level of the player.

For more articles and information on youth sports leagues, please visit our website: League Network.

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