For either competitive or recreational athletes, the first priority is that kids enjoy practices and games so they want to return the following season. That means training and playing have to be fun.
Fun and competition can go hand-in-hand. At the same time that sports can be physically and mentally demanding as well as competitive, kids can be having fun.
Based on my experience of consulting with young athletes and their parents, the following coaching styles can contribute to kids feeling a lack of enjoyment in sports.
As an ultra-competitive youth sports coach and parent of youth athletes I have behaved—at one time or another—in some of the ways described below. These coaching descriptions are not meant to judge. As coaches, we all have work to do. The key is to recognize when we’re acting in ways that may be detrimental to children, and work to change.