We all encountered at least one kid who we considered “bad”, and mostly (when we were first-time coaches) we tried out different methods to calm him/her down and make them behave. Something worked, some didn’t, and then comes another kid, and we go through the process again.
So what’s the big deal why do kids misbehave for no reason? To figure it out we gotta go to the core of things.
Why do kids misbehave?
Attention! And more attention. We all as human beings need attention, especially the newer generations who are used to having 50-10000 likes on their images on Instagram and Facebook. And no matter how old the kid is, or how much you think kids of a certain age can’t know about Social Media, they do. If they don’t their friends do and have told them about it and bragged about it.
Due to that, we have a lot of tech savvy kids who are drawn into this attention-seeking circle of adults. Now it is not social media’s fault, that’s how they were designed, but they were never designed for kids younger than 13 years of age. But still, there are many who are under and have accounts on social media apps.
And that creates a tool for their already attention seeking nature. We are after all a social species who need approval from those around us, but if we get another source of that attention, it will draw us in and make us feel a certain way depending on follows, likes, views and so on.
As kids we always seek attention from someone we respect, and sometimes on practice, kids figure out that they can have all the attention by doing something bad. The Coach is yelling, the other kids are looking, and the consequences are mostly nonexistent.
So we figured it out, it’s a natural occurrence. Seeking attention and approval from someone who is their role model.
How to prevent it?
I am not here to sugar coat it, and never will, the hard truth hurts, but there will always be “bad” kids in groups, the only way you can try is to reward good behavior with attention. A high five can go a long way. And ignoring bad behavior will go the same way.
Good or bad attention is still attention so we as coaches have to feed good behavior with attention while not giving any attention to the bad one. So as coaches, we have to give positive feedback to the players who do good.
An idea is to always mix in some high fives or “good job” throughout practice, but to a certain limit. When I say limit, I mean to motivate those who do not listen, do not care to work hard, to work on those drills because there is a reward, a good word from the coach The Attention they need.
We all know potential is something that we can increase as coaches. It is our guidance, our motivation that drives the motivation of the players. From young to old, if you give up, they give up. Even if you lose every single game, you don’t know what the future holds. Maybe one of those players will work beyond normal and who knows it might end up with some wins or even with a pro career.
This topic will be expanded for sure, but for now we leave you dear reader with the basics.