Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

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JohnDoe
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Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by JohnDoe » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:14 am

I'm about to start up with my spring coaching responsibilities and wanted to mine the collective IGX wisdom about working with high school boys. I've coached and taught both boys and girls and girls always seem to respond better. I pushed girls much harder when I coached them and they always viewed it as a challenge, whereas I've gotten gentler and gentler with the young men I coach over the years and it still seems like I'm missing something. I'm a good coach, but there's a gap I can't seem to bridge.

I think Syaigh mentioned the need to be more nurturing in a post a long time ago, but I'd love to hear more. Eventually my 2.5 year old and 6 week old will be young men too, so I've got about 12 years to figure it out when it really matters.

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syaigh
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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by syaigh » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:43 pm

Yeah, my experience is that a lot of their "bad" behavior is not meant to be "bad", its just energy/hormones and a lack of self-awareness. You don't have to yell at boys to get them to listen. Maybe to be heard, but that's just loud talking. Realistic, but high expectations with a plan to get there is key. They like understanding the process, it makes them feel more connected to the team and the game.

In my experience, boys like the opportunity to be leaders and they love it when you point out the things they do well or have improved. Boys and girls both like this, ie, don't bullshit them, just be generous with honest observations, ask them what they think about things, and give them opportunities to make good decisions.

I think there is a lot of value to selecting team captains and getting them to run warm-ups and look out for their teammates. It makes the team more cohesive as they develop a sense of togetherness and will make an effort to problem solve with little prompting. They will also push each other a little harder when they feel they have some autonomy.

I have coached a lot of boys who I didn't like at first, but when you give them a challenge and they rise to it, you can start to see the good qualities. I had one boy on my lacrosse team last year who was a total asshole, arrogant little shit. Would yell at his teammates all the time. But, I realized he was yelling at them to be better. He was a little intense, but he was actually a really good leader who set a high bar for the rest of the team and was actually a key part of winning the championship because he knew he needed his team to make it happen and talked them through all the challenges. It was quite amazing to watch.

So, they may drive you nuts. They may be unlikeable. But, get some momentum going, point them in the direction you want them to go, and start encouraging them and see where they go. And if any of them do act like assholes, correct it quickly and move on. There is no worse thing for a teenage boy than to feel humiliated or ousted. IF a kid is a constant problem, send him home, but most of the time, they just need a quick reminder. A lot of times, they aren't aware of what they are doing.

Hope this rambling helps a little.
Miss Piggy wrote:Never eat more than you can lift.

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syaigh
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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by syaigh » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:17 am

I think this is the post you're thinking of: http://irongarmx.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.p ... ching+kids

If that link does work, the title of the thread is "Training your tween/teen boys"
Miss Piggy wrote:Never eat more than you can lift.

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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by Boris » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:50 am

What sport are you coaching?

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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by JohnDoe » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:22 pm

Rowing.

My armchair psychology is that boys have their notions of masculinity wrapped up in sports in a way that girls don't. I have no issues with behavior and they typically give me great reviews as a coach. I've made very fast crews and very good technical crews, but boys just seem to be far more timid around me. My brother claims it's because I'm generally gruff and have a somewhat blank, if not grumpy, affect, even though it's not how I actually am as a coach and we end each practice with positives and emphasize our successes and so on.

I'm a teacher, and the reflection does bring to mind the volume of books out there about adolescent boys and how to reach them. Somewhat paradoxical I think, but I've felt it.

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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by Boris » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:29 pm

I coach swimming and S&C. I'm a high school teacher. I think you sound like me in a lot of ways - if you saw me on deck once or twice, (or in the hallway) you might think I'm a wannabe hard-ass, but I don't think I am and the kids who've been with me for a season or more don't think so either.

Very broad strokes here and based on my experiences as a male coach/teacher who works with age-group and high school kids. To be crystal clear, I'm talking generalities and you're always going to have enough exceptions that I don't even know if the generalities are useful, but here they are:

I find that coaching high school boys IS more challenging than girls, at least initially. In my experience until they get used to you, many boys can't help but have a kind of rival/testing mentality - "Could I take him?", "Is he cool?", "Does he know what he's talking about?", "Is this guy someone who's opinion should matter to me?", "Does this guy walk the walk?", etc.

Building trust and establishing limits is a little harder with boys than girls imo. Girls, as long as you come recommended by the team/parents/other coaches, seem to accept that you are an authority right away. Boys will make up their own minds on whether you are to be trusted or not.

With girls, it's harder to maintain trust. If you're "mean", you can blow away trust quickly. With boys, it's harder to maintain limits. If they know that you won't police poor behavior, they'll push it.

Giving tips and constructive criticism to teens in general is hard, and I feel like kids today aren't used to receiving it graciously. I don't explicitly coach my kids on this (how to receive and implement general feedback), but I probably should... The art of coaching/teaching is largely giving information to students/athletes in a way that it is understood, digested, and implemented effectively.

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Re: Coaching & Working w/ Adolescent Boys-- Advice

Post by JamesonBushmill » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:09 am

never be alone with one have another adult present at all times, and always keep the door to the room open.
Females who wear heels emulate the gait patterns of wounded and/or compromised prey and thus inspire males to heights of predatorial chasse-a-tude. - Robb Wolf

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