The job of the coach, you know, is not simple. Athletes, more or less experienced, have their quirks, their character traits often not simple, their strengths and weaknesses. If you add to this the not negligible fact of having to deal with athletes teenagers the challenge of being a coach becomes really very challenging, but not without satisfaction.
In the relationship with adolescent athletes the figure of the coach is fundamental. It is necessary to be present, guide them, correct them and, when necessary, make them understand that they are wrong. It is no longer about children, so a fundamental aspect in the relationship between coach and athlete is the assumption of responsibility. The boys must be called to account for their actions, but without making them feel constantly under examination. After all, sport must continue to be fun.
When I find myself dealing with young athletes, particularly teenage athletes, my personal experience helps me a lot. Having practiced rowing at a competitive level during the years of adolescence puts me in a position to understand what my athletes need. In principle it is essential to know how to alternate the rigidity and severity of training to moments of “reward”. Simply put, they must never miss, with the right barbell, the “carrot” and the “stick”. In particular at the beginning, when the athlete and coach are not yet well known, it is necessary to have a pulse, not to be too permissive. Setting stakes, making clear what is lawful to do and what is not, must be the starting point from which we cannot ignore. You have to make it clear to the kids that even though they’re having fun playing sports, the roles are very distinct. I’m the coach, you’re the athlete, and you do what I say. Especially in recent years, this first step has become fundamental: children are almost never very disciplined and do not like to suffer much. One of the first teachings to be imparted to them is precisely that without sacrifice, the famous sweat of the forehead, the dedication to daily and constant training, will not achieve any result. As much in sports as in life.
Once the confidence of the boys, made clear some firm points of the relationship coach-athletes, with teenagers you can work in a really satisfying way. The training of children aged 14 to 17 can be very stimulating: they have very fast learning rhythms and observe their sports improvements and the change of character and human is always a great satisfaction.
Certainly adolescence is not an easy age. It is a difficult moment of passage, to live for the boys and for the educators to manage. Often one encounters teenagers with angular characters, difficult or simply not inclined to the agonism. You meet very aggressive and competitive guys with whom probably the “stick”, the firmness and clarity in relationships work more than anything else, but there are also guys who need to be spurred to compete. With delicacy and firmness must be educated and accompanied at the time of the race, without too much aggression to avoid that those who are too shy blocks refusing to put themselves in the game.
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